Neither Republican gubernatorial nominee Lt. Governor Tate Reeves nor his Democratic opponent Attorney General Jim Hood offered their endorsement for the medial marijuana ballot initiative that will be before voters next fall.
The Medical Marijuana 2020 campaign recently turned in over 100,000 certified signatures in their attempt to make Mississippi the 34th state in the country to legalize medical marijuana.
Hood didn’t say how he’d vote, rather offering a vague response that he will leave it to the medial professionals to make judgments on medical marijuana.
“I did two terms as District Attorney, 16 years as Attorney General,” Hood said. “I’ve been a drug warrior for all those years, and it hadn’t worked. Medical marijuana is something that should be left up to the doctors in the medical profession. I’ve seen a few studies that it may help people get off opioids, I just don’t want it to get in the hands of kids. That’s why I’ve been raising cane about vaping…I think it’s up to the medical profession to make those decisions on the value of medical marijuana.”
Reeves made comments similar to the GOP debate this summer, where he said he was opposed to the initiative, but would respect the will of the voters if the initiative passed.
“As a father of three girls, I’m going to vote against the amendment that’s on the ballot next year,” Reeves said. “If I am elected governor and the people of Mississippi decide to vote a different way than I do then I’m going to uphold the will of the people.”
If Mississippians approve the initiative, it will be part of an ongoing trend, particularly in Republican states. Last year, voters in Missouri, Oklahoma, and Utah approved ballot initiatives to legalize medical marijuana. Two years prior, voters in Arkansas, Florida, and North Dakota did the same thing.
What would medical marijuana look like in Mississippi?
If the ballot initiative is approved by voters in November, marijuana would be legal for those with a debilitating medical condition and would have to be authorized by a physician and receive it from a licensed treatment center.
Some of these conditions include:
- Epilepsy and other seizure-related ailments
- Huntington’s disease
- Multiple sclerosis
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Chronic pain
- Chrohn’s disease
- Sickle cell anemia
- Autism with aggressive or self-harming behavior
- Spinal cord injuries
If a physician concludes that a person suffers from a debilitating medical condition and that the use of medical marijuana may mitigate the symptoms or effects of the condition, the physician may certify the person to use medical marijuana by issuing a form as prescribed by the Mississippi Board of Health. The issuance of this form is defined in the proposal as a “physician certification” and is valid for 12 months, unless the physician specifies a shorter period of time.
That individual then becomes a qualified patient. After they do this, they present the physician certification to the Mississippi Department of Health and are issued a medical marijuana identification card. The ID card allows the patient to obtain medical marijuana from a licensed and regulated treatment center and protects the patient from civil and/or criminal sanctions in the event the patient is confronted by law enforcement officers. “Shopping” among multiple treatment centers is prevented through the use of a real-time database and online access system maintained by the Mississippi Department of Health.
The Mississippi Department of Health would regulate the cultivation of marijuana, processing, and being made available to patients. There would also be limits on how much marijuana a patient could obtain.