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Mississippi Legislator Brings Hemp to Governor’s Office

One Mississippi Senator brought 3.5 grams worth of hemp to show Governor Tate Reeves, who has recently expressed opposition regarding the amount of cannabis allowed for the state’s medical cannabis program, in an effort to educate him about what a reasonable amount of cannabis looks like.

While there are many issues that need to be dealt with in the 2022 Mississippi legislative sessions, the legislature has been working towards establishing a medical marijuana program since long. Although both the House and Senate have expressed support for a medical cannabis program, Governor Tate Reeves’s opposition is one of the main reasons for the program’s uncertainty.

In an attempt to drive home final details for the state’s medical cannabis program, Senator Kevin Blackwell arranged a meeting with Reeves on January 5. Blackwell, who was one of the principal legislators involved in building the program’s structure, wanted to share his knowledge with Reeves through a little bit of hemp.

It Mississippi Free PressBlackwell spoke to me and described it as friendly. “I thought it went well. “[The governor]The meeting was received with openness and appreciation. Hopefully we moved the bar a little bit closer to an agreement,” Blackwell said. “He was non-committal, so they’re going to think about what we said and get back with us.” Blackwell also shared that the proposed legislation currently sits at a four ounces per month, which Blackwell believes is a “reasonable” amount. “I took samples to show him what an ounce actually looks like—what 3.5 grams actually looks like.”

On Meta (formerly Facebook) on December 28, 2021, Reeves wrote that he would absolutely support a medical cannabis bill if it were “truly medical marijuana.” He argued that the amount a single patient can use per day exceeds what he believes should be allowed, according to the current bill proposal. “The bill allows any individual to get 3.5 grams of marijuana per day. The average joint contains 0.32g of pot. A quick google search will reveal this. A single person could smoke eleven joints of marijuana per day. Every day,” he wrote.

He also expressed his belief that it isn’t medical at all if there aren’t any doctors involved in the process. “Unlike any other drug, this program allows virtually unlimited access to marijuana once you qualify. The amount is not set by a doctor or pharmacist. There is only what legislators call a ‘budtender’ serving you pot.” He concludes with a wish to reduce the “tremendous” amount of cannabis that the current bill text would allow. “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.”

Despite Reeves’ opposition, and threats of vetoing the bill if the possession limits don’t change, Blackwell is confident that the legislation has put together a comprehensive program for patients. “Lee Yancey’s been great. Speaker [Philip Gunn]Jason White has been a great help. To go through such a bill has been eye-opening. I don’t know if any bill has been vetted like this…with the transparency that’s occurred,” Blackwell stated.

The bill has been sent to Lt. Gov. Hosemann currently has the bill in his hands and will send it soon to the Public Health Committee. The Mississippi Free Press, Senator Hob Bryan has confirmed his support and that he will move it to the Senate floor for consideration, “as soon as is reasonably practical.”

Although Initiative 65 was approved by voters in 2020, the initiative was invalidated in May 2021 after a Supreme Court ruling. The result was that state legislators set about drafting their own medical cannabis bills. In the beginning, it was only 144 pages. The proposal was created in conjunction between Senate and House representatives. It was sent to Governor for revisions, and it became a 277-page long document.