Medical Marijuana

Mississippi Voters Approve Medical Use of Cannabis

Mississippi is the 35th state, and the second in the Deep South, to recognize marijuana as a medicine.


Mississippi voters today approved a ballot initiative that allows patients with a physician-certified "debilitating medical condition" to use marijuana for symptom relief. With 56 percent of precincts reporting, more than two-thirds of voters favored legalizing medical marijuana, and nearly three-quarters preferred Initiative 65, the more liberal of two options.

Mississippi is the 35th state, and the second in the Deep South, to allow medical use of marijuana. South Dakota has a similar initiative on its ballot this year that also looks likely to pass.

Gov. Tate Reeves, a Republican, opposed Initiative 65, as did the American Medical Association and the Mississippi State Medical Association. Supporters included Mike Espy, a Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate. A poll conducted in May put public support for the measure at 57 percent, including respondents who said they supported both Initiative 65 and Initiative 65A, a more restrictive measure that would have authorized state legislators to write the rules for medical use.

Initiative 65 applies to patients with "cancer, epilepsy or other seizures, Parkinson's disease, Huntington's disease, muscular dystrophy, multiple sclerosis, cachexia, post-traumatic stress disorder, positive status for human immunodeficiency virus, acquired immune deficiency syndrome, chronic or debilitating pain, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, glaucoma, agitation of dementias, Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, sickle-cell anemia, autism with aggressive or self-injurious behaviors, pain refractory to appropriate opioid management, spinal cord disease or severe injury, intractable nausea, severe muscle spasticity, or another medical condition of the same kind or class." With a doctor's approval, qualified patients will be allowed to obtain marijuana from state-licensed "treatment centers" and possess up to 2.5 ounces at a time.

The initiative charges the Mississippi Department of Health with licensing and regulating treatment centers, whose sales will be taxed at the standard 7 percent state rate. The deadline for writing regulations is July 1. The health department is required to start issuing ID cards to patients and licenses to treatment centers by August 15.

On Sunday, Gov. Reeves, who says he is "against efforts to make marijuana mainstream," warned that Initiative 65 would give Mississippi "the most liberal weed rules in the US," with "pot shops everywhere" and "no local authority." The measure allows local governments to impose zoning rules and regulations on dispensaries but says they "shall be no more restrictive" than the requirements for pharmacies.

[This post has been revised to correct the number of states that allow medical use of marijuana.]

NEXT: D.C. Voters Tell Cops and Prosecutors to Leave Psychedelic Users Alone

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  1. Smoke em if you got em.

  2. Completely open, fact-free speculation: Trump would have lost exactly 0 support in red states if he’d legalized/descheduled marijuana by executive order a week or two ago.

    Prove me wrong.

    ps: I realize he’s an incredibly busy man with a million other things to worry about, but this was an easy set-up slam dunk that he just didn’t take.

    1. Uh, drugs are bad, mkay?

  3. So what was the first state in the Deep South to do it?

    My own state has medical pot, but I’d say we’re shallow south at best, definitely not the deep part.

    1. Florida. Louisiana may have legalized it also, but I may be wrong about it.

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  6. What I find amazing is that Mississippi can lead Wisconsin on this issue. I think that a binding referendum on Medical marijuana would pass overwhelmingly in Wisconsin and that the Republican legislature will never allow the referendum.

    1. Not sure how referendums are passed in Wisconsin, but here we needed 1/3 of registered voters signing a petition to put it on the ballot. Our Republican legislators tried their best to stop it, putting in their own initiative that would have given the legislature the choice to legalize it or not. So we could vote for 65, the people’s choice, or 65a, the legislature’s choice. Thankfully we voted for 65. Don’t forget, if MS of all places can do it, won’t be too long for the rest of the country to do so as well.

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  8. The fact that MS, I mean MISSISSIPPI! of all places legalized medical pot, can we finally have a serious conversation about ending America’s longest, and arguably stupidest war?

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