Mississippi lawmakers have been prepared to pass a medical marijuana bill for more than one month, however the governor has delayed calling a special session. He says there are still aspects of the bill he would like to see changed.
Governor Tate Reeves has not yet announced when he will call a special session of the legislature to create a new medical marijuana program in the state. Mississippians voted last year to create a program, however the constitutional amendment was overturned by the state supreme court. Reeves said in September that he would call a session once lawmakers were complete in drafting a bill to create a medicinal cannabis program, but he says there are remaining issues he would like to see addressed before calling that session.
Reeves says the bill that was originally written by lawmakers forbid the Department of Public Safety from having a role in the state’s potential medical marijuana industry.
“Clearly I wasn’t going to agree to that, so we’ve made some necessary improvements to the bill, but we haven’t gotten to the point where I am comfortable yet in ensuring that we have a program that is truly ‘medical mariuana’ that has strict rules in place.”
Governor Reeves says he is also in talks with lawmakers about adding additional restrictions on how much marijuana someone can purchase if they do qualify for the program. He says without these restrictions, the state may be closer to having a recreational marijuana industry.
“If we’re going to have our true medical marijuana program with strict rules in place that ensures that those individual Mississippians who need medical marijuana can get it, but also doesn’t air on the side of opening access to any and everybody in the state, we’ve got to make some additional adjustments. And I’m hopeful that they will be able to do so.”
Supporters of medical marijuana say these limits could prevent patients from receiving the dosages they require, and say other states have passed medical marijuana programs without the rise of a large cannabis black-market.