Medical marijuana bill headed to Mississippi GOP governor

Published 4:27 pm Wednesday, January 26, 2022

Mississippi lawmakers are sending Gov. Tate Reeves a bill that would create a medical marijuana program for people with serious medical conditions.

The House and Senate on Wednesday both passed the final version of the measure, Senate Bill 2095.

The Republican governor could sign the bill, veto it or let it become law without his signature. He has not said what he will do, but legislators passed it by a wide enough margin to override a veto.

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If it becomes law, as expected, Mississippi would join the majority of states that let people use cannabis for medical reasons.

A majority of Mississippi voters approved a medical marijuana initiative in November 2020, but the state Supreme Court invalidated it six months later by ruling that the state’s initiative process was outdated and the measure was not properly on the ballot.

Since shortly after the court ruling, legislators have been working to create a program that would allow people with conditions such as cancer, AIDS or sickle cell disease to buy marijuana in state-licensed dispensaries. Reeves said he wants tight limits on how much people could buy because he does not want a recreational marijuana program.

The Senate and House passed slightly different versions of a bill this month, with bipartisan support. The two chambers had to agree on one version to send to the governor. The final version included some zoning provisions that cities wanted.

The bill says patients could buy up to to 3.5 grams of cannabis per day, up to six days a week. That is about 3 ounces per month.

The bill sets taxes on production and sale of cannabis, and it specifies that plants must be grown indoors under controlled conditions.

The National Conference of State Legislatures says 36 states and four territories allow the medical use of cannabis.