Mississippi advocates will place medical cannabis on the ballot this year. Ballot Initiative 65 will be getting a vote this time around after all, although it may have to face some revisions before it is finalized.
According to WLOX in Mississippi, in order to make the ballot, Mississippians for Compassionate Care, a cannabis advocacy group, was required to submit 105,686 signatures in order to get Initiative 65. The organization only needed 86,000 signatures in order to qualify for the 2020 election, and they far surpassed that number. Still, getting approval took some time, as each signature had to be approved by the Secretary of State’s Office.
The Mississippi Legislature will now either adopt or reject the measure before the official vote. They may also decide to amend the bill and put their own version on the ballot.
Still, while this all looks promising, not everyone in the state is in favor of legalizing medical cannabis. The Mississippi Board of Health has recently voiced opposition against the initiative. While they admit cannabis has some medical benefits, they claim that there are too many harms associated with cannabis for them to support it as medicine in their state. They also feared broad terms like “pain management” in the initiative would make it too easy to abuse.
It’s been a long road in Mississippi when it comes to cannabis legalization. Advocates were able to get enough signatures to add medical cannabis to the ballot back in September 2019, but the process for review is so in-depth that it’s just now been approved. Advocates for medical cannabis spoke up for the initiative early on, pounding pavement in order to get enough signatures. If this initiative makes it onto the ballot, even if it does face some changes, 2020 could be a big deal for cannabis in Mississippi.