The Mississippi Senate voted 47-5 on Thursday to legalize medical marijuana, a move that comes more than a year after voters approved a medical cannabis ballot measure that was later overturned by the state Supreme Court. If the long-awaited legislation, which now heads to the House for consideration, becomes law this session, a medical cannabis program could be up and running in the state by later this year. Its route to the passage, however, remains precarious. Gov. Tate Reeves (R) has already threatened a veto over its proposed purchase limits, which he says are too high, and some other state officials remain wary. But supportive lawmakers have said they’re confident they’ll have the votes to override any veto and push the legislation through. Sen. Kevin Blackwell (R), the bill’s chief sponsor, pushed back on claims from the governor and others that the measure would be so lax as to effectively legalize marijuana for recreational use. “I suggest that if you think that, maybe you should take the time and actually read the bill because you’ll find that it is a medical bill,” he said on the floor Thursday. Medical marijuana remains a contentious topic in Mississippi despite voters there decisively approving a broad legalization initiative in November 2020. The state Supreme Court overturned the measure on procedural grounds last May—simultaneously doing away with the state’s entire initiative process—and lawmakers have spent the last several months navigating what comes next.
Ben Adlin, Marijuana Moment, 01/13/2022 13:59:00