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Mississippi Governor Signs Off on Medical Cannabis Legislation |

Mississippi finally has legalized medical marijuana. 

The state’s Republican governor, Tate Reeves, signed legislation on Wednesday that will allow qualifying patients to receive the treatment, ending a long and drawn-out struggle that dates back to the 2020 election, when a huge majority of Mississippi voters passed a ballot initiative. 

“The ‘medical marijuana bill’ has consumed an enormous amount of space on the front pages of the legacy media outlets across Mississippi over the last three-plus years,” Reeves said in a statement that he posted on Twitter.

“There is no doubt that there are individuals in our state who could do significantly better if they had access to medically prescribed doses of cannabis. There are also those who really want a recreational marijuana program that could lead to more people smoking and less people working, with all of the societal and family ills that that brings.”

After voters approved the initiative to legalize medical cannabis in 2020, it didn’t take long for the measure to unravel. Last year, the State Supreme Court ruled it invalid. It cited a technicality that made the initiative unconstitutional. 

Reeves, lawmakers and others have engaged in back-and forth over a replacement legislation for the one that was rejected by the court. Despite being opposed to the initiative, Reeves said that he would honor “the will of voters.” But getting a bill on his desk proved to be difficult. 

Mississippi’s legislators had produced a bill last fall. Reeves, however, did not convene a special session due to objections raised by the legislation.

“I am confident we will have a special session of the Legislature if we get the specifics of a couple of items that are left outstanding,” Reeves said in October. “Again, we have made great progress working with our legislative leaders.”

Reeves and lawmakers were in disagreement over the maximum amount of marijuana a patient can purchase. Reeves said that he desired the limit at 2.7 grams daily.

The Mississippi Senate and the Mississippi House of Representatives reached an agreement over a bill last week that allows qualifying patients to buy as much as 3.5 grams up to six times per semaine.

With a majority vote of veto, the bill was passed by the legislature.

“I have made it clear that the bill on my desk is not the one that I would have written,” Reeves said in his statement on Wednesday. “But it is a fact that the legislators who wrote the final version of the bill (the 45th or 46th draft) made significant improvements to get us towards accomplishing the ultimate goal.”

Reeves continued to list a number of modifications made to the bill, which he claimed marked improvement to the law.

“1. This reduces the amount of money that a single person can get to 3 oz. per month. I requested 50 percent. Said differently, there will be hundreds of millions of fewer joints on the streets because of this improvement,” Reeves said in his statement.

“2. A medical professional cannot prescribe outside the boundaries of their practice. The relationship must be established with the patient. It requires a visit in person by the patient to the doctor. 

“3. For children under 18, only an MD/DO can make a prescription. This is done with parental consent. 4. For young adults aged 18-25, a doctor or DO must be able to prescribe. 5. I believe the MSDH will establish rules for advertising and packaging, which will have a minimal impact on our youth. 6. Mississippi Development Authority has prohibited any incentive for the industry. 7. Protects our churches and schools from having a marijuana dispensary within fewer than 1,000 feet of their location.”

“I thank all of the legislators for their efforts on these improvements and all of their hard work. I am most grateful to all of you: Mississippians who made your voice heard,” he added. “Now, hopefully, we can put this issue behind us and move on to other pressing matters facing our state.”