The Fight for Medical Marijuana Continues in Mississippi
Most pundits and observers were stunned when the Mississippi Supreme Court struck down Initiative 65, the medical marijuana ballot issue added to the November 2020 election by voter signature collection and overwhelmingly approved by voters.
While it seemed to some people that the decision spelled doom for people hoping to get a Mississippi Marijuana Card, we think this is only a speed bump and not a roadblock on the Magnolia State’s journey to legalization. The current landscape seems to suggest that medical marijuana is still on its way.
Let’s take a brief look back to how we got to the disappointing Court decision, before looking at the promising things that have happened since.
Will of the Voters Derailed by a Technicality
When Mississippi voters in 2020 overwhelmingly supported some sort of medical marijuana legalization, with a slightly smaller majority favoring Initiative 65 specifically, it seemed like nothing could delay the relief of medical marijuana finally making its way here.
But then the Court ruled the issue unconstitutional, saying that Constitutionally speaking, it should never have even been on the ballot. Because language in the state Constitution’s description of the initiative process was crafted when the state had five congressional districts, and because that language was never updated when we lost a district after the 2000 Census, the Court ruled that the initiative process was essentially broken.
Yeah, but if You Prevent Voters from Changing the Constitution, Isn’t that also Unconstitutional?
Legalization advocates and irate citizens pointed out that this line of thinking leaves Mississippians unable to alter the state Constitution, which is in itself unconstitutional.
And while some elected officials have declined to get involved, some others fortunately have taken up for the will of the voters, the most notable of them being Governor Tate Reeves.
Governor Reeves told Biloxi ABC/CBS affiliate WLOX that he supports “the will of the voters” and that he thinks “we will have a medical marijuana program in Mississippi.” The governor urged state legislators to pass a medical marijuana bill, telling WLOX “It is imperative that we get it done, and get it done quickly."
The governor’s call came the week after some state legislators had already come together to discuss medical marijuana and how their branch of the government might serve the voters even if the judicial branch is less inclined to do so.
These actions by politicians and citizens come just as the state is taking a hit in the wallet thanks to the Supreme Court’s ruling. A medical marijuana market would mean establishing companies to cultivate, distribute, and sell marijuana, as well as to create and administer training programs for doctors and employees of marijuana-related businesses. It would mean vacant offices and storefronts would find tenants, and new construction jobs where existing facilities wouldn’t be adequate.
One healthcare executive told a reporter, “Tens of millions of dollars have already been spent in anticipation of the program and hundreds of millions of dollars have been raised. The state stands to lose one of its highest GDP producing industries because of a politically-driven court decision.”
Only a Matter of Time?
When you consider the long and winding road that led to this point in the story of marijuana and Mississippi, and how much support is coming from voters, politicians, and investors, it seems like the arrival of medical marijuana here is an inevitability.
Obviously we have been surprised before in this journey, but things feel different this time. Consider the following:
In 2020, almost 69% of Mississippians voted in favor of medical legalization in general, and nearly 74% of them voted for Initiative 65 specifically.
Nearly 90% of Americans support medical legalization, and 37 states have already passed medical marijuana laws.
Support for medical marijuana only grows as people become more familiar with it. In November of 2019, only seven years after the first states legalized it, Pew Research found that two-thirds of Americans supported medical marijuana. In less than two years, that number jumped about 25% and is now at 91%.
How often do politicians, voters, and the business community all agree on something? With that kind of coalition behind it, we’re confident it’s only a matter of time before medical marijuana comes to Mississippi.
Why Wait Longer Than You Have to for Relief?
While medical marijuana may not be here just yet, that’s no reason not to get the ball rolling on getting your Mississippi Marijuana Card. Get started now, and you can be ready as soon as the law is.
Reserve your appointment today, and we’ll schedule a medical evaluation for you by one of our Mississippi caring and knowledgeable marijuana doctors as soon as we’re able to offer them. You’ll also save $25 off the cost of that evaluation. To get started today, or to have your questions answered by one of our friendly support staff, call (833) 781-6635.
Doctors Who Care. Relief You Can Trust.
Helping you find health and wellness through safe and convenient access to medical marijuana is our primary goal at Mississippi Marijuana Card. We’re working hard to educate advocates and cynics alike about the unique benefits medical cannabis can offer, building an accessible informational library of all things Mississippi and medical marijuana in the process.
If you have any questions, we’re ready to answer them. Call us at (833) 781-6635, or simply reserve a medical marijuana evaluation!
And don’t forget to check out Mississippi Marijuana Card’s Blog to keep up to date on the latest developments on the state’s progress towards relief.