Mississippi just became the 37th state to legalize medical cannabis.
The law went into effect Wednesday immediately following Republican Gov. Tate Reeves signing of the legislation. In November of 2020, a majority of Mississippi voters approved a medical cannabis initiative. It would have permitted people to buy up to 5 ounces a month.
Six months later, the state Supreme Court invalidated the initiative, stating the initiative process was outdated and the measure was not properly placed on the ballot.
Reeves said in a statement on social media 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.”
He added “there are also those who really want a recreational marijuana program that could lead to more people smoking and less people working, with all of the societal and family ills that that brings.”
The Republican-controlled state House and Senate passed the final version of Senate Bill 2095 last week. Patients are now allowed to purchase about 3 ounces of cannabis per month. This is 2 fewer ounces than the original law allowed. “There will be hundreds of millions of fewer joints on the streets because of this improvement,” Reeves said.
Reeves had expressed concern over the original purchase limits voters approved. “I have made it clear that the bill on my desk is not the one that I would have written,” Reeves said. “But it is a fact that the legislators who wrote the final version of the bill (the 45th or 46th draft) made significant improvements to get us towards accomplishing the ultimate goal.”
Cities and counties are given 90 days to opt out of allowing medical cannabis facilities to grow or distribute cannabis. People in those communities could petition for an election to overrule an opt out.
Dispensaries could be licensed in the next 6 months.
“Now, hopefully, we can put this issue behind us and move on to other pressing matters facing our state,” Reeves said.