A medical marijuana legalization question will be on the 2020 ballot, allowing the residents of Mississippi to decide on the legalization of medical cannabis. If the voters approve ballot initiative 65, it will amend the state’s constitution so that people with debilitating health conditions, which are included in the list of qualifying conditions such as cancer and epilepsy, would be able to access medical marijuana.
In July 2018, the Medical Marijuana 2020 campaign sponsored by the Mississippians for Compassionate Care political group, kick-started the petition for the constitutional amendment. This was after the draft ballot initiative was approved by the Mississippi Secretary of State and the Mississippi Attorney General’s office.
On September 4, the completed petitions were submitted, and a little over four months later, the Secretary of State’s office in Mississippi confirmed that the petition had enough signatures qualifying it for placement on the ballot.
Each of the five Congressional districts had to generate around 17,237 signatures making it a total of 86,185. The Mississippians for Compassionate care turned in more than 105,000 signatures that were verified.
In an interview with The Daily Mississippian, the Medical Marijuana 2020 communications director, Jamie Grantham, said that when they were drafting the language for the medical marijuana initiative, they looked at other states, studied their programs, people, and patients who benefited from those programs.
The proposed medical marijuana amendment provides that patients are not supposed to carry more than 2.5 ounces of medical marijuana at any one time and that patients should not be sold more than the 2.5 ounces in a span of 14 days. It also provides that medical marijuana treatment centers should be more than 500 feet away from schools, churches, or childcare institutions.
The legislature in the state of Mississippi has about four months to review, change, adopt or reject the measure before the November 3 elections. According to Section 23-17-29 of the Mississippi Code Annotated, if they opt to amend, both the original and amended versions of the measure will be on the ballot. The code also stipulates that the medical marijuana initiative must have 40% of the total votes cast if it is to be implemented.
In an interview with The Daily Mississippian, the Director of Pharmacy Health Services, Sandy Bentley, said that every medication has some risk. She further noted that doctors prescribe the drug because the benefits overshadow the dangers and that medical marijuana is no different.
Bentley further said that medical marijuana should be judged on a case-by-case basis. She also said that she does not think that medical marijuana can have a blanket policy.
The initiative is being vehemently opposed by the Mississippi Board of Health, citing that several known harms are resulting from the use of marijuana products. These harms include addiction, mental illness, increased accidents, and smoking-related illnesses.
That opposition notwithstanding, experts believe that cannabis companies like No Borders Inc. (OTC: NBDR) are hopeful that voters will support the initiate that seeks to give them an additional treatment option in case they are faced with a health challenge.
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