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Mississippi Governor Won’t Sign Medical Cannabis Bill Without Major Changes |

Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves said Tuesday that he would not sign the state’s medical marijuana bill. He claimed it allows too many patients to use medical cannabis. A Facebook post by the Republican governor stated that he will support the measure, if the legislature reduces the daily maximum for medical marijuana purchase.

“I hope that legislative leaders will see fit to consider reducing the tremendous amount of weed they seek to make legally accessible so that I can sign their bill and we can put this issue to rest,” Reeves wrote.

Mississippi voters approved Initiative 65 on November 2020, which was a ballot initiative to legalize medical marijuana. However, in May, the Mississippi Supreme Court overturned the statute, citing constitutional inconsistencies in the state’s initiative process.

The Mississippi Senate and House of Representatives reached an agreement in September on a medicinal cannabis plan. It had key differences from Initiative 65. These included provisions that would permit local jurisdictions regulate the cultivation, processing, and sale of medical marijuana.

Reeves Rejects Mississippi’s Cannabis Purchase Cap

Reeves claimed Tuesday that the lawmakers’ bill addressed some of his fears about Mississippi launching a legal medical marijuana program. Reeves said that while he was happy with the legislation, there are still concerns over how much marijuana a patient can purchase.

“Unlike any other drug, this program allows virtually unlimited access to marijuana once you qualify. There is no pharmacist involved and no doctor setting the amount,” said Reeves. “There is only what legislators call a ‘budtender’ serving you pot.”

Reeves noted that under the legislature’s plan, patients would be allowed to purchase up to 3.5 grams of medical cannabis per day. Writing that a “simple google search shows that the average joint has 0.32 grams of marijuana,” Reeves said that each patient would be entitled to enough cannabis for 11 joints every day. He then presented statistics about patients in Oklahoma to show how many people are enrolled for the medical cannabis program.

“An equivalent sign-up rate in Mississippi would yield 300,000 Mississippians with a card to get up to 11 joints per day. That would allow the disbursement of 3.3 million joints per day in our state, which is the equivalent of approximately 100 million joints per month,” Reeves extrapolated. “That would be 1.2 billion legal joints sold in Mississippi per year. Call me crazy, but I just think that’s too broad of a starting point.”

Reeves proposed that the lawmakers reduce the daily maximum for medical cannabis purchase.

“I am asking the Legislature to simply cut that amount in half to start the program,” he wrote. “It is a simple fix.”

Reeves said that the current limit for medical cannabis may be reconsidered, if it proves insufficient to meet patient requirements. 

“We can sit down five years from now and take a thorough review of the actual outcomes,” the governor wrote. “But—as the dad of three daughters that I love dearly—I cannot put my name on a bill that puts that much marijuana on the streets of Mississippi.”

The new legislative session will begin in January and the lawmakers will consider the bill. Reeves’ failure to hold a special session on the issue has already angered many activists.

“This program was supposed to have been up and running already,” Citizens Alliance of Mississippi founder Shea Dobson told reporters last month. “I mean, we were supposed to have had medical marijuana in place right now as we speak. And every day that goes by, the governor moves the goalposts; we continue to see patients suffer more.”