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Mississippians gather signatures for local medical marijuana
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Signatures are being gathered at Polk's Pharmacy in Brandon to require a vote on opting back into the state's developing medicinal marijuana program.
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Leaders of some cities and counties in Mississippi are voting to opt out of the state’s medical-marijuana program. But residents who support it are pushing for a public vote.

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Residents who live in communities that have opted out of the state’s developing medical marijuana program are gathering signatures to require a public vote for opting back in. City and county leaders have until May 3 to decide if businesses that sell or grow marijuana will be prohibited in their jurisdiction. Glenn Fincher is a resident of Calhoun County and says his board of supervisors voted Thursday morning to opt out.  

“We are going to go after the signatures to get a ballot initiative started. I say we’re a poorer county, but we will force them to have another vote if need be,” says Fincher. “We will go get the signatures and get it on the ballot again.”

Fitcher says his county had overwhelming support for initiative 65 in the 2020 election and anticipates gathering all of the required signatures.

The City of Brandon voted to opt-out in early March, with alderman saying they are wary of the regulations still being developed by the Department of Health. Buell Polk is a local pharmacist who owns several retail stores across the state. At his pharmacy near Brandon’s main hospital, he’s gathering signatures to challenge the board’s decision.

Polk says “I felt like this would be an opportunity for my company to be able to service those people that would qualify for the medical cannabis, and this would prevent them from having to leave this local area and go to another area to be serviced with their medical needs.”

To require a public vote, either 1,500 signatures or 20 percent of a municipality's voter base must be gathered depending on the population. After signatures are certified, jurisdictions have 60 days to hold a public vote.