Voters in Mississippi are likely to get the opportunity to decide whether or not to legalise cannabis for medical use next year after a campaign group successfully submitted a petition to include the issue on the state’s 2020 ballot.
‘Mississippians for Compassionate Care’ (MCC) collected 214,000 signatures to table legislation for the vote in 2020. The group met Friday’s deadline for submitting at least 86,000 signatures to county clerks who are currently working on certifying the petition – named ‘Medical Marijuana Petition No 65’.
It marks the culmination of work started by the group more than two years ago by Jamie Grantham who, at the time, announced the move on Mississippi’s Super Talk radio station.
“It’s a well-focussed initiative,” she declared to the JT Show.
“We looked at what other states have done and how their programmes are functioning well.
“We want to be able to provide a well-regulated and tightly restricted medical marijuana programme for patients here in Mississippi who are suffering from debilitating medical conditions.”
She also outlined a pledge to attempt to ensure the petition would be in place ahead of the 2020 ballot. It now looks like that pledge has been fulfilled.
This morning, the secretary of state’s office said it was in receipt of the petition.
“The Medical Marijuana Petition, No 65, was filed yesterday,” a spokeswoman said.
“At this time, we do not know whether the signature requirement has been fulfilled.
“We are in the process of reviewing and determining the number of signatures so as to file with the Legislature on the first day of the 2020 session in accordance with state law.”
If passed, the MCC proposal would mean patients suffering with any of the 22 listed conditions – ranging from cancer to PTSD – could be granted access to cannabis treatment following consultation and recommendation from a doctor.
Up to 2.5 ounces marijuana a fortnight would be permitted for patient use.
The state of Mississippi has experienced some stiff political resistance towards the legalisation of cannabis, and has passed only restrictive laws in respect of CBD. While many observers agree the full legalisation of recreational use is some way off, campaigners point to polls that show a vast proportion of Mississippi’s three million residents are in favour of medical cannabis.
And that, says political writer Douglas Smith, is a sure sign that the south-eastern state would push for full legalisation beyond the 2020 ballot.
“Several polls suggest the majority of Mississippians are fully behind the medical marijuana campaign, so logic would state that if a poll for medical use would gain the support of eight out of ten people, then a full recreational vote would see support from somewhere between six to seven,” he explained.
“However, it is extremely likely that the US will legalise cannabis at a federal level before Mississippi even gets the opportunity to choose whether or not it would like to see marijuana being fully legalised.”