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Mississippi Takes Another Step Toward Allowing Medical Cannabis |

Last week saw a significant breakthrough in the long-running back-and forth surrounding Mississippi’s medical marijuana bill. Members of Mississippi’s state House unanimously passed the legislation.

The Associated Press reported that the bill was approved by the state House in a vote of 104-14. Members of the state Senate passed the bill the previous week with a vote of 46-5, “but the House made some changes,” according to the Associated Press, and now it is down to senators to either accept those changes or bring the legislation to the negotiating table.

“This bill has been vetted probably more than any bill in my history for sure,” said Republican state House Representative Lee Yancey, as quoted by the Mississippi Clarion Ledger.

The Clarion Ledger Yancey (the chair of the state House Drug Policy Committee) worked closely with Kevin Blackwell from the GOP to pass the bill throughout the summer and into fall.

Blackwell submitted a 445-page bill earlier in the month. It was then referred by Lieutenant Governor Delbert Hosemann to Senate Public Health and Welfare Committee.

The following is an extract from the Clarion Ledger, Yancey “made three changes” to the bill passed last Wednesday by the state House, with the most notable dealing with the amount of cannabis a patient can procure, a major area of disagreement between lawmakers and Mississippi’s Republican governor, Tate Reeves.

Blackwell’s bill permitted patients to purchase up to 3.5 grams of cannabis per day, but Yancey’s version allows for only three ounces to be purchased at a time.

The following is an extract from the Clarion Ledger, a patient “can still purchase 3.5 grams of marijuana at a time, but only six times a week.”

Reeves said he preferred the limit be lower at 2.7 grams. However, it’s not known if that will satisfy him.

The Clarion Ledger said that Yancey considers the number “just a starting point, and he expects the legislature to increase the amount of marijuana a person can purchase each month in future years.”

“This is an effort to start small and grow rather than start big and reduce,” Yancey said.

In another notable change, the House-passed bill “puts the entirety of the program under the Mississippi State Department of Health,” according to the Clarion Ledger, whereas the Senate version tasked the Department of Agriculture and Commerce to oversee “the licensing, inspection and oversight of cannabis cultivation facilities, processing facilities, transportation and cannabis disposal entities in the state.”

Nearly 70 percent of Mississippi voters passed a proposal at the ballot in 2020 to legalize medical cannabis for patients in the state suffering from a host of conditions, including cancer, epilepsy or other seizures, Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease, muscular dystrophy and multiple sclerosis. 

But the law’s path to enactment has been troubled. Mississippi’s Supreme Court rejected the initiative for the ballot last year, citing technicalities that made it invalid. 

State lawmakers tried to repeal the ruling and replace it with a new law on medical marijuana, but this too was hampered by delays.

In September, lawmakers created a draft bill. However, Reeves was not happy with it and called for a special session to discuss and vote on 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 at a press conference in October. “Again, we have made great progress working with our legislative leaders.”

Now, with the regular session underway, the bill returns to the Senate––but the ball remains very much in Reeves’ court.