Medical Cannabis Bid Approved for Mississippi Ballot

A ballot initiative to legalize medical cannabis in Mississippi has been approved for the state’s November ballot.

Full story after the jump.

Mississippi voters will decide whether to legalize medical cannabis in the state after the ballot initiative was approved by the Mississippi Secretary of State and Mississippi Attorney General’s office earlier this month, the Daily Mississippian reports. The proposal, which would be a constitutional amendment, outlines 20 “debilitating conditions” that would qualify a patient for the program.

Mississippians for Compassionate Care needed 17,237 valid signatures from each of the five congressional districts, for a total of 86,185 signatures. Ultimately, over 105,000 signatures were validated.

Lawmakers now have until May to review, amend, adopt, or reject the initiative prior to the general election; if they amend the language, both the original and amended versions will appear on the ballot. The campaign-backed bill includes a 2.5-ounce possession cap for patients and specifies that they could only purchase up to that cap every two weeks. Under the proposal, dispensaries cannot be located within 500 feet of schools, churches, or childcare centers.

The Mississippi Board of Health has come out against the plan – including approving a resolution in opposition earlier this month – saying there are “numerous known harms from the use of cannabis products including addiction, mental illness, increased accidents, and smoking related harms.”

Jamie Grantham, Medical Marijuana 2020’s communications director, said the campaign “looked at other states, studied programs, people who implicated programs, as well as patients” in drafting their initiative.

In 2015, Mississippi activists failed to get a broad legalization measure on the ballot, collecting just 13,300 of the required 107,000 signatures.

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