A petition filed last week may give Mississippi voters the opportunity to vote on whether to legalize medical marijuana next year. Mississippians for Compassionate Care (“MCC”) submitted 105,686 signatures to the state that it claims have been verified by county clerks. That is roughly 20,000 signatures above the threshold required to place an issue on the ballot. Before the ballot measure is official, however, the Mississippi Secretary of State must confirm the total number of signatures and that a minimum number of signatures was obtained from each congressional district.
The legalization proposal would allow patients suffering from 22 conditions to utilize marijuana after obtaining a doctor’s certification. Those 22 conditions include cancer, epilepsy, post-traumatic stress disorder, Parkinson’s Disease, and chronic pain. While Gov. Phil Bryant and the State Board of Health have voiced opposition, MCC claims that Mississippians overwhelmingly support the initiative. “It polls above 77 percent, with every age group, religious affiliation, political affiliation and other groups,” said MCC spokesperson Jamie Grantham.
Mississippi is the latest deep south state to show movement on medical marijuana. Medical marijuana is legal and available in Arkansas as of May 11, 2019 and Louisiana as of August 2019. Medical marijuana has been legal in Florida for years. And a medical marijuana proposal even passed the Alabama Senate earlier this year. We will keep an eye out for further developments in Mississippi and report them on our blog.