Hope fades for special session on Miss. medical cannabis program

Published: Nov. 7, 2021 at 9:37 PM CST
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DESOTO COUNTY, Miss. (WMC) - The push for Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves to call a special session for a proposed medical cannabis program is looking less and less promising.

It’s been a back and forth between lawmakers and the Governor Reeves over the last month, making changes to the bill that was proposed by state legislators in late September.

“Really, the one key piece left is with respect to how much marijuana can any one individual get at any one point in time,” Reeves said during a press conference in Jackson this past week.

In the bill, medical professionals would be able to prescribe 3.5 grams to patients at one time, but Reeves wants to limit that amount to doctors, exclusively.

He’s worried not enough regulations in the program would come close to mimicking a recreational program, something he’s against.

The max he’s wanting medical professionals, for instance an optometrist or a nurse practitioner, to be able to prescribe at one time is 2.8 grams.

“Any paper currency in America weighs a gram,” said Zach Wilson, pulling a ten dollar bill out of his wallet. “Say I cut this much of that dollar bill off (a third), that’s the amount of weight they want to change it by. That’s nothing. That’s what these people are hung up on.”

Wilson is the Vice President of We are the 74, a pro-medical cannabis group in the state, recently protested outside the Governor’s mansion in Jackson demanding Reeves call a special session.

With what Reeves is asking for, Wilson says lawmakers should not let it kill the likelihood of having a special session.

“The people are ready for our legislators to quit playing politics, quit holding personal beefs and grudges between themselves and other legislators, go ahead and agree with the Governor to get our special session, and let’s get this bill passed,” Wilson said.

“We’re about 60 days from legislature coming into town,” Reeves noted during the press conference. “And so, I hope we get it done before then.”

The bill going to regular session is something Wilson does not want.

A special session could grant the bill its own stage, whereas regular session would mean it falls in the mix with the rest of the agenda state leaders hope to achieve.

It could mean several more months before the bill passed, as well as the possibility other legislators could attach new amendments and provisions to the bill, which could result in less legislators voting for it and possibly the death of the bill.

If the bill does face a regular session and isn’t passed, Wilson says the next elections would be a reckoning for state leaders.

“We will not forget, and we will make sure that we are there advocating for people and to put all the incumbents out,” Wilson said. “If you vote against this bill, you’re signing your political death sentence because we don’t want you anymore.”

Wilson says there’s no time to waste with this because even if the bill is passed it could take, what he says, seven more months before medicine is distributed because there are no licenses, no dispensaries and nothing has been planted yet.

He’s asking lawmakers to give Reeves what he’s asking so the special session can be called.

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