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Mississippians rally in Jackson for medical marijuana
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A couple hundred people march past the Governor's Mansion in downtown Jackson, Miss., calling for him to call a special session of the Legislature that would address elements of a State Supreme Court ruling that invalidated Mississippi's initiative process and overturned a medical marijuana initiative that voters approved in November 2020.
AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis

Advocates for Medical Marijuana in Mississippi are protesting the state Supreme Court's ruling that overturned initiative 65. They are calling on lawmakers to give Mississippians the program they voted for.

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Dozens of Mississippians traveled to Jackson from across the state to attend the 'We Are the 74%’ rally, a reference to the percentage of Mississippians who voted to pass initiative 65 last November. 

A speaker at the rally tells the crowd “We want a special session. We want you to enact medical marijuana and make it look exactly like initiative 65, and we want you to fix the ballot initiative process that y’all broke.”

They are frustrated that the state supreme court overturned the measure, calling the ballot initiative process 'outdated'.

Among the speakers at the rally was Iuka resident Bethany Hill. She says she suffers from several chronic illnesses and had to move out of the state to seek medical marijuana treatment. She has relied on CBD products since she moved back 2 years ago but says she has not been able to access the full medical benefits of marijuana and may have to leave again. 

“And no Mississippian should ever have to make that decision. Never again. We can’t stand for it. We can’t allow that to happen anymore,” says Hill. “It’s okay to be a proud Mississippian and we love it here, and we love our neighbors, and we love who we are and how we are, and there’s no reason we should have to give that up for our health.”

Republican Mayor Shea Dobson of Ocean Springs* helped gather signatures for initiative 65  and is a supporter of the 'We are the 74%’ movement. He thinks the Mississippi Supreme Court's ruling was not an accurate interpretation of the ballot initiative process.

“I just fully disagree with the Supreme Court, their ruling, and I just hope that the senators and representatives in Jackson will pass what the people voted for, not what others want them to pass,” says Dobson.

Speaking to the crowd of activists, Bethany Hill tells her story and pleads with lawmakers. She says “I don’t want to leave. I love my people, I love my state. Please fix this. Thank you.”

Both legislative leaders say they are open to a special session, and the Governor says he is considering that option.

*Editors note: Shea Dobson is Mayor of Ocean Springs, not Crystal Springs as previously reported.