Mississippi Ag Commissioner Rejects Medical Cannabis

Mississippi’s Agriculture Commissioner rejected the premise that his agency could facilitate the state’s medical cannabis program due to the plant’s federal Schedule 1 status.

Full story after the jump.

Mississippi Agriculture Commissioner Andy Gipson said in a letter to the State’s Attorney General he did not feel his agency could help facilitate the state’s medical cannabis program due to cannabis’ federal Schedule I status, according to Mississippi Today. In the letter to Attorney General Lynn Fitch, Gipson said that “elected officials took an oath of office to ‘faithfully support the Constitution of the United States … and obey the laws thereof.’”

Currently, Mississippi‘s medical cannabis system is in limbo after the state Supreme Court struck it down on the grounds that signatures for the 2020 ballot measure were incorrectly gathered. Despite continued negotiations, the legislature has been unable to pass a replacement measure. One proposal puts the Mississippi Department of Agriculture in charge of licensing medical cannabis producers—but in a radio interview with Supertalk, Gipson said that if the legislature does pass such a bill, he has a draft legal challenge ready to go, according to the report.

“If the Mississippi Legislature were to enact and the governor were to sign into state law a medical marijuana program, how would it be legal under the federal act to truck, ship, deliver, manufacture, distribute or dispense any part of the cannabis seed or plant as a Schedule 1 substance into the state of Mississippi?” Gipson, in the letter, via Mississippi Today

State Sen. Kevin Blackwell (R) pointed out in the report that many of the 38 states with medical cannabis programs allow agriculture department-licensed farms to produce the federally prohibited crop.

Mississippi voters overwhelmingly passed the medical cannabis initiative during the 2020 election. However, the measure was quickly challenged by a Mississippi mayor who said the law did not give local government enough control over cannabis businesses. And earlier this year, the Mississippi Supreme Court threw out the law on the grounds that signatures were incorrectly gathered due to the legislature’s failure to redistrict the state as ordered by a federal court.

In a last-minute scramble, the Mississippi legislature attempted to pass replacement legislation but they have been unable to get the measure to the governor’s desk, leaving Mississippians without a medical cannabis system.

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