Mississippi Supreme Court overturns medical marijuana initiative

Mississippi — Hopes of medical marijuana coming to Mississippi were derailed Friday.

The Mississippi Supreme Court overturned Initiative Measure No. 65 which was approved by Mississippi voters to bring medical marijuana to the Magnolia State.

RELATED: Mississippi voters approve medical marijuana Initiative 65

FOX13 spoke with an Ole Miss law professor who had a lot to say about why it was overturned and what is possibly next.

Ole Miss Law professor Ronald Rychlak told us that medical marijuana could still happen in Mississippi. The easiest way would be if the state stood with the people who voted for it.

“I think there is an indication here that the mood of the people in the legislature could act fairly quickly and pass legislation to pass medical marijuana if the legislature wants to do that. It’s not clear that they do, but given the mood of the people in light of the vote that we just saw that would be the quickest way to remedy the situation,” Rychlak said.

So how did the marijuana vote get thrown out?

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According to Rychlak, back in 1995, the process for a ballot initiative was written around five congressional districts. Mississippi now has 4; so the law doesn’t apply. The signatures were gathered under a law that provided for five.

Madison Mayor Mary Hawkins Butler filed suit arguing that because it is an outdated process, Initiative 65 never should have been on the ballot.

State attorneys argued the signatures were still gathered properly.

“The Supreme Court says well this is not precisely abiding by the law, our alternative is to overturn it or we can affectively amend the constitution and just pretend like we have five, and we don’t have that authority,” Rychlak said

So if legislation isn’t passed and there is going to be a medical marijuana program, signatures may have to be gathered again, and it will have to go back on the ballot for another vote.

“We have to go back in and people have to go back in the legislature and do it the way the law is written and our constitution provide,” Rychlak said

That initial ballot initiative passed by over 70 percent.

FOX13 reached out to those in charge of Initiative 65 for comment. We have not heard back.

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