Mississippi has the opportunity to become the 35th state (including DC) to legalize medical marijuana. Recently, over 214,000 signatures were presented to the Secretary of State by Mississippians for Compassionate Care. As a result, residents of Mississippi will have the option to vote on the legalization through the 2020 ballot.
“We are beyond excited to share that the Secretary of State has officially qualified Ballot Initiative 65 to be on the November 2020 ballot,” said Jamie Grantham, communications director for the initiative. “Patients in Mississippi who suffer from qualifying debilitating conditions are a step closer to having access to a treatment option that patients in 34 other states are receiving relief from.”
If legalized, Mississippians will be able to purchase medical marijuana with a recommendation from a local physician. There are currently 22 conditions that would qualify for a recommendation. Individuals with recommendations can have up to two and a half ounces of cannabis per two weeks. Some of the prequalifying conditions include:
- Chronic Pain
- Parkinson’s Disease
- Crohn’s Disease
- Spinal Cord Disease
“It’s a life-changing alternative treatment for so many people,” said Medical Marijuana 2020 Communications Director Jamie Grantham. “These are very serious conditions that people live with on a daily basis and medical marijuana can help them get through their days.”
If Mississippi decides to legalize medical marijuana, residents will be able to treat these conditions in a new way. On top of that, it will be an efficient way to raise revenue without having to impose a new tax.
Unfortunately, not everyone is in favor of legalization. For example, Mississippi’s Department of Public Health has publically opposed the legalization due to its vague descriptions. The department also claims that there is no significant information regarding the relationship between marijuana, addiction, and mental illness.
However, if this initiative proves successful, then Mississippi will be the second mid-south state to legalize medical marijuana, only behind Arkansas. It’s unclear how much revenue Mississippi would bring in with this new legalization, but Arkansas was able to sell $28 million worth of medical marijuana last year alone.
Mississippi joins a few other states in an attempt to legalize medical marijuana for the 2020 ballot. South Dakota and New Jersey will both have the measure as well. Hopefully, the country will see a few more states join in before November.
In the time being, lawmakers will have the opportunity to either approve, reject, or amend the initiative before it officially goes to the ballot. However, the initiative will remain on the ballot no matter what lawmakers decide.
Until then, it’s time for Mississippians to spread the word about the vote. The more people who know about it and the benefits it could bring with it the better. It’s only a matter of time before medical marijuana is legalized across the entire state.