Mississippi House Passes Revised Medical Cannabis Bill

The Mississippi House passed a Senate-approved medical cannabis bill but with updates adding some qualifying conditions and reducing the amount of medical cannabis that patients can purchase each day.

Full story after the jump.

The Mississippi House has approved a revised version of the medical cannabis bill that was passed by the Senate last week, the Jackson Free Press reports. The version passed by the lower chamber reduces the amount of medical cannabis patients can access, and while it technically increases the number of qualifying conditions, the measure does not include language that would allow physicians to recommend cannabis for any condition.

The bill decreases patient limits from four ounces per month to three ounces per month as Republican Gov. Tate Reeves has maintained his support for lower limits and has threatened to veto the measure over the daily limits.

“I’ve repeatedly told the members of the Legislature that I am willing to sign a bill that is truly medical marijuana. One that has reasonable restrictions to ensure that it doesn’t have an adverse effect on Mississippi’s economy. One that has reasonable restrictions to ensure that it doesn’t disrupt Mississippi families. A program that helps those Mississippians who truly need it for an illness,” he wrote in a December 29 Facebook post blasting the previous 3.5 gram per day limits. “But as the dad of three daughters that I love dearly I cannot put my name on a bill that puts that much marijuana on the streets of Mississippi.”

The House-approved bill also includes amendments to allow outdoor cultivation and removing program oversight from the Department of Agriculture and Commerce (MDAC) at the request of agency Commissioner Andy Gipson who has previously rejected that the MDAC could even facilitate the program due to federal law. The revised version tasks the state Department of Health with facilitating the program.

In a statement released Thursday, Gipson reiterated his opposition to putting the program under the purview of MDAC, saying the Health Department is the “best place for a truly medical program” and the change “reflects the will of the voters” who approved a medical cannabis program in 2020 that was struck down by the state Supreme Court.

“It is also good policy for the taxpayers of Mississippi because it achieves greater efficiency in the use of funds by reducing the number of agencies involved in the program,” he said in the statement. “The Department of Agriculture remains committed to assisting the Department of Health on any technical issues that may arise in this program, just as we are committed to all of the state government when we can be of help.”

The bill, which passed the House 104-14, moves back to the Senate for final legislative approval before heading to the governor.

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