The Lafayette County Board of Supervisors held a public hearing Monday night to discuss the possibility of withdrawing from the Mississippi Medical Cannabis Act.
Many county residents have expressed support for legal cannabis in Lafayette County, arguing that the drug’s medicinal benefits far outweigh any potential risks.
“I know two [doctors] “In this city they are very supportive of medical marijuana for people in need,” Martha Scott said. “I just don’t see how problematic medical marijuana is, if you do your research and talk to enough doctors, I feel like you’ll have no problem voting for this.”
Mike Watkins, a disabled veteran, said using marijuana when he was stationed on the West Coast helped him overcome his addiction to painkillers and other addictive substances.
“I was hooked for years after I graduated from the military,” Watkins said. “I had PTSD and the VA prescribed me over 400 pills a month, over half of which were drugs. When I got into the program in Portland, I went from 400 a month to zero over a six-month period.”
Others argued that the withdrawal would be in direct opposition to the wishes of the people, who voted overwhelmingly to pass the more liberal and open 65 initiative.
“We went through the initiative process, we collected signatures, we went through the voting process, the Supreme Court did what it did, we went through another legislative process, and then the governor finally decided to sign the bill, and here we are again trying to get our hands on it again,” said Antonio Bargan, founder and president of Hemp + Ville CBD. “Someone else is voting for it.” “I am asking you guys not to quit after so much work…let’s give people what they want.”
Chairman Mike Richards was quick to point out that he and his fellow supervisors did not decide one way or the other, and were simply gathering as much information as possible to make an informed decision.
“I think there are a lot of misconceptions right now about the standing of this board,” Richards said. “Legally we have to notify you when we vote to withdraw or not…the public hearing because we totally care. We want to know and get input from the public.”
The board has not set a date for any possible exit vote. The Mississippi Medical Cannabis Act allows municipalities to withdraw from the program within 90 days of signing it on February 2.