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Medical cannabis advocates protest outside Mississippi governor’s mansion

Protestors demand Governor Reeves to call a special session for proposed medical cannabis program
Published: Oct. 18, 2021 at 7:22 PM CDT
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JACKSON/HOLLY SPRINGS, Miss. (WMC) - Protesters gathered outside the Mississippi governor’s mansion in Jackson Monday afternoon, demanding Governor Tate Reeves call a special session for the proposed Mississippi medical cannabis program.

The bill was submitted in late September.

Reeves has said in the past if Republicans and Democrats came to a consensus, then he would call a special session, but after several weeks of no call for one, protesters have had enough.

“I think the longer they drag their feet, the more they are telling the people of Mississippi that they don’t care what we want,” said Shea Dobson, executive director of Citizens Alliance of Mississippi (CAM).

CAM is a statewide grassroots political network that’s worked alongside the group We are the 74, a group that stands for the 74 percent of Mississippians who voted for a free-market medical cannabis program in the November 2020 elections.

Dobson was outside the governor’s mansion in Jackson when we spoke with him, saying he isn’t for the additions made to the bill by Reeves, such as THC caps and excise taxes on the drug.

“The people voted for free-market,” Dobson said. “They didn’t vote for a bunch of red tape and a program that doesn’t work. They voted for an actual free-market medical marijuana program, so that’s what we’ve been pushing for.”

“It’s everybody. It’s all Mississippians. That set us on a pathway to work together in a bipartisan fashion to get something done. I think we’ve done that,” said Democratic State Representative John Faulkner.

Faulkner, who represents Mississippi State House District 5 in North Mississippi, said the collaboration to create the proposed bill has been productive, where he and members of the state legislative black caucus feel their voice is represented in the bill.

They now simply wait for the voice of the governor.

“We want to get this medical marijuana piece behind us, so we urge the governor to call us back so we can get to work,” Faulkner said.

What Faulkner doesn’t want is for this bill to linger into the general session that will begin in January 2022, saying there are many other issues the state needs to tackle.

Taking this matter in a special session would take a key issue off the plates of legislators.

“We’re going to see this through, and we will be here until the special session is called,” Dobson said.

Reeves’ office did not respond to our request for comment.

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