A medical marijuana initiative in the state of Mississippi appears to have a strong chance of passage after a recent poll indicated that voters are largely in favor of the plan. The initiative, which was activist-led, garnered bi-paritsan support with eighty-nine percent of democrats and seventy-six percent of republicans in favor of the proposal.
Legislature has also proposed a medical Mississippi marijuana plan which is more restrictive. This proposal will appear next to the activist-led initiative on the ballot, though polling indicates that voters do not favor the legislative alternative as highly. This might be good news for the future of Mississippi’s medical cannabis industry, as more restrictive programs have been less effective in other states.
Advocates for Mississippians for Compassionate Care, the campaign that spearheaded the activist-led initiative to get Mississippi medical marijuana on the ballot, suspect that lawmakers may have proposed a more restrictive plan to confuse voters. With two medical marijuana plans on the ballot, the vote could be split, thus limiting the chances of either measure passing.
Seventy-five percent of Mississipians polled said that they would vote for either medical cannabis measure on the ballot. However, after both measures were described, fifty-two percent of voters chose the activist-led initiative over just twenty-three percent in favor of the legislature's plan.
It remains to be seen if voter education will be strong enough to pass the less restrictive measure.
The activist-led proposal will appear on the ballot as INITIATIVE 65, with the legislature plan appearing as Alternative 65A. INITIATIVE 65 would allow individuals with twenty-two qualifying conditions such as chronic pain, mental health issues, and cancer to obtain medical marijuana with a doctor’s recommendation. Patients would be allotted 2.5 ounces of marijuana per two-weeks.
Alternative 65A would be more restrictive in who could receive the benefits of Mississippi medical marijuana. There would likely be less options for consumption, fewer qualifying conditions, and more stringent limits on purchases. Restrictive measures like these have proven to be inhibiting for both patients and growth of the medical marijuana industry in other states.