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Mississippi governor won’t sign medical cannabis bill without major changes

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Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves revealed Tuesday that he will not sign a medical cannabis bill proposed by state lawmakers, saying the legislation allows patients to get plenty of medical cannabis. In a message posted to Facebook, the Republican governor wrote that he would support the measure if the legislature cut the daily maximum for medical marijuana purchases in half.

“I hope that legislative leaders will see fit to consider reducing the massive amount of weed they are seeking to make legally available so that I can sign their bill into law and we can put an end to this problem,” Reeves said.

Mississippi voters approved Initiative 65, a ballot measure to legalize the medical use of marijuana, in November 2020. However, in May, the Mississippi Supreme Court break the law, citing constitutional contradictions in the state initiative process.

In September, negotiators with the Mississippi Senate and House of Representatives announced that they had reached an agreement on a file Medical cannabis plan That has key differences from Initiative 65, including provisions that would allow local jurisdictions to regulate where medical marijuana can be grown, processed and sold.

Reeves rejects cap on cannabis purchases in Mississippi

Reeves said Tuesday that a bill drafted by lawmakers addresses some of his concerns about launching a medical marijuana program in Mississippi. But the governor added that he was still interested in the question of how much cannabis a patient would be allowed to buy.

“Unlike any other drug, this program allows virtually unlimited access to marijuana once you qualify. There is no pharmacist involved and no doctor sets the amount,” Reeves said.

Reeves noted that under the legislature’s plan, patients would be allowed to purchase up to 3.5 grams of medical cannabis per day. “A simple google search shows that the average joint has 0.32 grams of marijuana,” Reeves wrote, adding that each patient is entitled to enough cannabis for 11 joints a day. The governor then provided statistics for patients from Oklahoma, where about 376,000 patients are enrolled in the medical cannabis program.

“An equivalent subscription rate in Mississippi would result in 300,000 Mississippians with a card for up to 11 joints per day. This would allow for 3.3 million joints per day in our state, which equates to about 100 million joints per month,” extrapolated Reeves. That would be 1.2 billion legal joints sold in Mississippi annually. Call me crazy, but I think that’s too broad for a starting point.”

Instead, Reeves suggested that lawmakers drastically reduce the daily maximum for medical cannabis purchases.

“I am simply asking the legislature to halve this amount to start the program,” he wrote. “It’s a simple solution.”

Reeves also suggested that the cap on medical cannabis could be reconsidered if the modified cap proved insufficient for the patient’s needs.

“We can sit down five years from now and do a thorough review of the actual results,” the governor wrote. “But — as the father of three daughters I love so much — I can’t put my name on a bill that puts that much marijuana on the streets of Mississippi.”

Lawmakers will discuss the bill during the new legislative session, which begins early next month. Many cannabis activists are already frustrated with Reeves not follow up On plans to call a private session to consider the matter.

“This program should have already been set up and running,” Mississippi Citizens Coalition founder Shea Dobson Tell Correspondents last month. “I mean, we were supposed to have medical marijuana in place by now as we speak. And every day that goes by, the governor moves the net; we still see patients suffer more.”

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