Mississippi Lawmakers Seeking Special Session, Would Include Medical Cannabis Bill

Mississippi lawmakers have requested a special legislative session dedicated in part to enacting a medical cannabis program.

Full story after the jump.

Legislative leaders in Mississippi are asking Gov. Tate Reeves (R) to call for a special session in order to, in part, enact a medical cannabis program, CBS42 reports. Last year, Mississippi voters had approved a medical cannabis ballot initiative; however, the state Supreme Court in May tossed out the initiative, ruling the ballot process is out of state and the proposal was improperly on ballots.

The medical cannabis program backed by lawmakers is not the same as the voter-based initiative. State Rep. Lee Yancey (R) told CBS42 that the program would help patients with epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, and cancer. The proposal, which would require a three-fifths majority due to its tax implications, also includes opt-out provisions allowing municipalities to ban cannabis industry operations within 90 days. Those bans could be overturned by voters in local ballot initiatives, the report says.

The plan could also face an uphill battle from the state Agriculture Department after Commissioner Andy Gipson said in a letter to state Attorney General Lynn Fitch last month that he didn’t believe his agency could help facilitate the state program because cannabis remains federally outlawed.

“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 wrote in the letter.

Gipson has also said he has a legal challenge drafted in the event lawmakers approve the reforms.

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