Gov. Tate Reeves continues to ignore the will of the people of Mississippi. Voters approved a pretty good medical marijuana law in 2020. But a year later, the governor says he wants lawmakers to make yet more changes in a proposal to create a medicinal Cannabis program in the state. This is after the legislators have already effectively eviscerated the intent of voters by weakening the law.
Mississippi voters approved a business-friendly medical marijuana program a year ago, but the state Supreme Court struck down the measure. State lawmakers then drafted a measure creating a medical marijuana program and move it through the Legislature. (One suspects they did so not as much from beneficence as to save their political hides from angry constituents.)
The Republican governor said Monday that he wants tighter limits on the amount of Cannabis patients could buy, reports The Oxford Eagle. He also wants to reduce the content of THC, the compound that produces a high and also has medical benefits. But disingenuously, the governor has not disclosed what he considers an acceptable level.
‘Higher Than I Am Comfortable With’
Reeves described the THC levels in current drafts of the bill as “higher than I am comfortable with.”
The governor said he wants a “true medical marijuana program, with strict rules in place,” not a program that would allow “recreational use” of the drug.
Reeves also reportedly wants to restrict who can authorize medical marijuana. Early versions of the bill allowed physician assistants and nurse practitioners to authorize patients to use the herb.
Hempville CBD owner Tony Barragan said Reeves’ repeatedly lying that the marijuana proposal is recreational is dismissive to Mississippians who suffer from chronic pain and illness. According to Barragan, it’s disrespectful to and reduce Cannabis patients to recreational marijuana users.
“[Reeves] stating that he does not want a recreational marijuana program is totally understandable, but that’s not what this is,” said Barragan. He pointed out many prospective patients won’t be able to be approved for medical marijuana.
‘It Will Really Take Away From Their Pain Relief’
Lowering THC levels would negatively impact the effectiveness on patients who use Cannabis for pain and other conditions.
“I’ve seen patients desperately try to get relief from my products which have almost no THC in them,” Barragan said. “Say they lost a limb in war. These people deal with excruciating pain and they don’t want to take opiates. It will really take away from their pain relief if they manipulate the THC percentage.”
Barragan hopes the restrictions on the proposals are reasonable and that the governor and his administration can work with medical marijuana advocates.
Mississippi Supreme Court Overruled Voters
In November 2020, Mississippi voters approved an initiative to create a medical marijuana program. The Mississippi Supreme Court overturned the initiative in May. The justices ruled Mississippi’s initiative process is outdated and unworkable.
House and Senate negotiators have been working to create a program since then. After releasing an initial proposal weeks ago, they changed medical marijuana tax rates. They also reduced the sizes of growing facilities.
Reeves has said he could call legislators into a special session if he and the negotiators can agree on a plan. The next regular session begins in January.