MISSISSIPPI — Mississippi voters will decide if they want to legalize medical marijuana when they cast their votes Tuesday.
However, it is not an easy yes or no.
There are two initiatives on the ballot, 65 and 65A, which focus on legalizing medical marijuana.
Initiative 65 was created by citizens and the other from legislators.
Medical marijuana supporters argue lawmakers created another imitative to confuse voters while some people don’t support either initiative.
“This does not need to be political. Shame on the people who politicized it. This is a medical issue and needs to be between a patient and their doctor,” said Jamie Grantham with the Medical Marijuana 2020 campaign which supports Initiative 65.
Initiative 65 was placed on the ballot after over 200,000 signatures were collected.
“For so many people, they have a better quality of life through medical marijuana and for some people, it’s literally life-saving to them,” said Grantham.
If passed, Initiative 65 will allow people with epilepsy, cancer, ALS, and other medical conditions to get medical marijuana I.D. cards.
Doctors could then prescribe 2.5 ounces of marijuana to those patients over a 14 day period.
Grantham argues legislators put initiative 65A on the ballot to confuse voters. This version only gives medical marijuana to terminally ill patients.
The state legislature will decide the tax rate, possession limits, location of stores, and more.
There is also no set timetable for when the program will start which is concerning for people like Grantham.
Initiative 65A supporters like state health officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs argue this is not an issue.
“It would be in the constitution that the legislature has to do it. They would be breaking the law if they didn’t do it,” said Dr. Dobbs.
Dr. Dobbs said he has many concerns about initiative 65, including how it would be regulated.
Right now, 65 puts the health department in control of the medical marijuana program which he said is not the best use of resources in the middle of a pandemic.
“It is a wild west version of medical marijuana that’s going to make pot available pretty much in every community,” said Dr. Dobbs.
Dr. Dobbs said he’s also concerned about where the stores selling medical marijuana will be placed but Grantham said the stores can’t be placed within 500 feet of churches or schools.
Cox Media Group