Advocates across Mississippi are voicing their support for legalizing medical marijuana, reports MPB News. They held rallies held in 6 cities over the weekend. Activists called on Gov. Tate Reeves to hold a special session so lawmakers can pass a medicinal Cannabis bill.
“Special session now!,” the protesters chanted. “Medical rights!”
This summer, the Mississippi Supreme Court ruled the ballot initiative process unconstitutional, overturning the amendment. In so doing, the Court effectively nullified the votes of 74% of Mississippians.
Most protesters are members of the medical marijuana advocacy movement We Are The 74. The Facebook group associated with We Are The 74 has nearly 15 thousand members. Advocates say they represent the 74 percent of Mississippians who voted to adopt a medical marijuana program in last November’s election.
‘Our Vote Was Not Considered’
At a demonstration outside the Governor’s Mansion in Jackson, David Singletary of Florence said legislators need to implement a medical marijuana program soon.
“Our vote was not considered, and now 74% of the people are having to bow down to 26% of the people who are rich and run the state,” says Singletary. “The meek and the weak shall inherit the earth, but why are the rich and the powerful screwing it up?”
Activists also held rallies in Biloxi, Hattiesburg and Tupelo.
Governor Tate Reeves has claimed he will call a special session of the Mississippi Legislature. The Republican Governor, however, has given no timeline for when it will be held.
‘A Weak Substitute’ For Mississippi
Some protesters are concerned that lawmakers are not adhering to the same language used in the ballot initiative. Lucy Ogden of Jackson says the bill recently proposed by lawmakers ignores what voters chose.
“There were people that put a lot of thought and a lot of research into the [ballot initiative] 65,” says Ogden. “From what I understand, the bill [proposed by lawmakers] is going to let a few people buy the license or something to grow. It took everything away that was in the bill, and it’s a substitute. A weak substitute.”
Some state officials have criticized the bill for medical marijuana drafted by lawmakers, saying it would be costly and spread oversight across too many state agencies.
‘The Supreme Court Ripped Our Voice Away’
The House and Senate agreed on a bill. Now, Governor Reeves is on the hot seat. Protestors said their rally was to bring attention to the issue and to hasten relief to those who are suffering.
The Citizens Alliance of Mississippi (CAM) helped with the Biloxi edition of the rally, down on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, reports WLOX.
“I think the people deserve a special session right now,” said Shea Dobson, executive director of CAM. “You know, 74 percent voted on medical marijuana. The Supreme Court ripped our voice away. So, a special session needs to happen yesterday.”
Biloxi protestor Harvey Spears had this blunt warning about the repercussions of delay. “I’m glad that they’re holding it up like this because we’ve got every one of their names.
“Every one one of those corrupted bastards are going to be thrown out, I promise you,” said Spears.
CAM executive director Dobson said the cost for waiting is high. “The longer we wait, the more patients suffer.”