Could the next step for medical marijuana in Miss. be lawmakers crafting their own program?

Updated: Jun. 3, 2021 at 9:54 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Some members of the legislature are not waiting for a potential special session call from the Governor to start looking at how to revive a medical marijuana program.

The Senate Public Health and Welfare Committee’s hearing questions may provide some insight into what parts of the medical marijuana program could get a rewrite. A repeated topic was whether municipalities should be able to opt out.

“Would it make sense for us to treat medical marijuana as a local option where someone could have a referendum to vote whether they would want their citizens to utilize medical marijuana?” asked Sen. Barbara Blackmon.

Another potential change some lawmakers seemed to be interested in from 65 is the amount of marijuana and THC content allowed per person.

“Personally five ounces in a month seems like a lot of marijuana,” commented Sen. Kevin Blackwell.

The Mississippi Medical Marijuana Association admits there are some changes in logistics they believe could be made.

“Putting everything under the umbrella of the health department was a short sighted mistake,” added Ken Newburger, Mississippi Medical Marijuana Executive Director. “The purpose of that was to make sure that everything had one decision maker so that way it didn’t get gummed up in bureaucracy. But I think that the flip side of that is that we were asking your health department to do things that were very very far out of their expertise.”

Newburger added that he believes the fees to become licensed could probably sustain the program and any excess fees or taxes may could be directed to the general fund.

So, what if lawmakers are called back for a special session and pass a medical marijuana program? How fast could it get up and running?

They asked State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs for his opinion since the State Board of Health had been in the process of getting rules and regulations in place prior to the court ruling.

“The quickest that I think that could happen from a free-market perspective and other people may disagree but starting over and I think some people would kind of pulled back would be 6 to 9 months,” added Dobbs.

To watch the hearing in its entirety, click HERE.

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