On Wednesday, Mississippi’s Republican-led legislature finally agreed on a medical cannabis bill to be sent to Gov. Tate Reeves’ desk. After months of negotiations, the Mississippi Medical Cannabis Act will establish a system of licensed dispensaries to provide medical cannabis to qualified patients.
The Senate and House passed slightly different versions of a bill last week, with wide margins of bipartisan support. Lawmakers approved a final version of the legislation in conference committee on Wednesday.
“It’s nice to be at a place where everyone’s in agreement,” said House Drug Policy Committee Chairman Lee Yancey (R), reported the Jackson Free Press. “It looks like that we’re finally going to be able to provide relief to those people with debilitating illnesses who suffer so badly.”
Republican Gov. Tate Reeves argued on various occasions that he wanted tight limits on how much cannabis people can purchase because he strongly opposes a recreational marijuana program. As it stands, the bill allows patients to buy up to 3.5 grams of cannabis per day and up to six days a week.
Reeves has not yet said whether or not he will sign the bill, veto it or let it become law without his signature.
“We’re veto-proof on both sides,” said Republican Sen. Kevin Blackwell who worked with Yancey in leading negotiations.
A wide margin of Mississippi voters approved a medical marijuana initiative in November 2020, but the state Supreme Court invalidated it six months later by ruling the state’s initiative process was outdated and the measure was not placed properly on the ballot.
NORML State Policies Manager Jax James responded to the news. “This news is arguably bittersweet for Mississippi’s patients. While these steps forward are a welcome development, they are also long overdue. The overwhelming majority of voters decided in favor of this policy change over a year ago, and for the past 14 months the will of the people has been denied as a result of the actions of the state Supreme Court and the Governor.”
Once enacted into law, Mississippi will become the 37th state to regulate the possession and distribution of medical cannabis.