Mississippi has legalized medical marijuana for people with debilitating conditions, NPR reports.
The change comes 15 months after a healthy majority of voters approved a stronger version of the law, in November 2020.
The National Conference of State Legislatures says 36 states and four territories already allowed the medical use of cannabis. That means Mississippi just became the 37th state.
Republican Gov. Tate Reeves signed the legislation Wednesday and it became law immediately. But it could be months before the first Cannabis dispensaries open.
“There is no doubt that there are individuals in our state who could do significantly better if they had access to medically prescribed doses of cannabis,” Reeves wrote in a statement posted to Twitter.
But old Tate, devout Trump fan that he is, just couldn’t resist the ignorant impulse to inject some ole-timey idiocy into his statement. That’s right, readers… Tater kept on a talkin’.
Gov. Reeves: ”Could Lead To More People Smoking And Less Working” (Sigh…)
“There are also those who really want a recreational marijuana program that could lead to more people smoking and less people working, with all the societal and family ills that that brings,” he intoned.
You read that right. It’s either ”work” or ”smoke” in Tate’s constricted, frightened, beleaguered, doomed little world, don’t you know.
Reeves almost certainly only signed the bill into law to avoid the indignity of his veto being overriden.
74 Percent Backed 2020 Ballot Initiative
A huge majority of Mississippi voters — 74 percent! — approved a medical marijuana initiative in November 2020. And that measure would have allowed patients to buy up to 5 ounces a month.
The Mississippi Supreme Court invalidated the people’s vote six months later. They found Mississippi’s initiative process outdated. In a remarkably sketchy decision, the justices claimed the measure was not put properly on the ballot.
Staunchly conservative Republicans, notably, control both the state House and Senate. But these are Republicans who can read opinion polls. Both chambers passed the final version of Senate Bill 2095 last week
3 Ounces Per Month
The new law allows patients to buy up to to 3.5 grams of marijuana per day, up to six days a week. That adds up to about 3 ounces per month. It sets taxes on production and sale of medical marijuana. The law requires medical marijuana to be grown indoors.
Reeves said because of the reduction from 5 ounces a month in the initiative to 3 ounces a month in the new law, “there will be hundreds of millions of fewer joints on the streets because of this improvement.” That’s actually complete bullshit, of course.
There will be hundreds of millions of fewer LEGAL joints on the streets, Tate. And plenty of patients will be suffering, you insufferable gasbag. The ones who can’t access black market weed will have to subsist on your hare-brained, stuffed-shirt, proudly stupid backwoods blowhard.
No State Help For Medical Cannabis Industry
The new law prohibits Mississippi from providing any economic development incentives for the new medical marijuana industry. But the state often provides tax breaks and financial assistance for roads or water access to industrial sites for, er, ”more respectable” industries.
So the lack of support for a new multi-million dollar industry is a bit unusual, but not one bit surprising. But let’s at least be real. Ready? OK!
Bottom line: the law was written by conservative Republicans, many of whom who fear, scorn and hate weed and the people who use it. Oh, and you’re welcome.
Cities And Counties Can Opt Out; Voters Can Overrule Them
The law gives cities and counties 90 days to opt out of allowing medical Cannabis facilities, for growing or selling. But those communities could petition for an election to overrule local officials’ decisions and allow cultivation and sales.
Under the law, those who have “debilitating medical conditions” can legally use medical marijuana in Mississippi. They can obtain registry identification cards needed to purchase the herb in dispensaries. Registered designated caregivers will also be eligible to obtain cards, reports CBS News.
Medical marijuana authorizations written for children under the age of 15 require parental consent, reports The Hill. The new law blocks the establishment of dispensaries within 1,000 feet of a church or school.
Also, Reeves said the law permits medical professionals to authorize marijuana only “within the scope of their practice.”
What The Living Hell Is An MMCEU? And Other Mysteries
Marijuana is measured in what’s called Mississippi Medical Cannabis Equivalency Units (MMCEU). One unit equates to either 3.5 grams of marijuana, 1 gram of Cannabis concentrate or 100 milligrams of THC in an infused product.
Mississippi residents with cards will be allowed to obtain no more than six MMCEUs in a week and a maximum of 24 MMCEUs in 30 days.
These Mississippi legislators are regulating patients to an eighth a day because they apparently deem them too irresponsible to buy at ounce at once. You know, like people in EVERY LEGAL STATE can routinely do, every day, all month. And that’s without any medically qualifying conditions.
“Marijuana access is long overdue for Mississippi’s patients,” said Jax James, state policies manager for NORML.
“The overwhelming majority of voters decided in favor of this policy change over a year ago,” James said, ”and for the past 14 months the will of the people has been denied.”