Push for legalized marijuana in Mississippi has begun

If Mississippi for Cannabis can obtain 107,216 signatures by October, the legalization of marijuana would be placed on the 2016 ballot in Mississippi. The Mississippi for Cannabis registered the initiative with the Secretary of State as Initiative 48. If Initiative 48 reaches the ballot and is passed, it would amend the state constitution to regulate the drug like alcohol, the Governor would also be required to pardon all “persons convicted of nonviolent cannabis crimes,” and the first 3 years of tax revenues would be earmarked for education.

The following specific language would be added to the state constitution:

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Rep. Williams-Barnes’ Legislative Update

Rep. Sonya Williams-Barnes (D-Gulfport) gave an update of the state legislatures “Conference Weekend” where the house and senate work-out differences between bills passed in their respective chambers so it can be forwarded to the governor for signing into law (or veto).

In January, House Bill 48 was passed and signed into law by Gov. Bryant.  The law requires public and private Mississippi schools to “adopt and implement a concussion management and return to play policy.”

Barnes does not like the requirement to drug test TANF applicants as required under House Bill 49.   The bill was championed by Speaker of the House Philip Gunn (R-56) and Rep. Sam C. Mims (R-97) and the governor signed into law on March 24th.

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Legislature sends Governor medicinal marijuana bill

Miss. House voted 112-6 to pass House Bill 1231 earlier this week.  Sen. Deborah Dawkins (D-Pass Christian) introduced medical marijuana bills in previous sessions.  Sen. Josh Harkins (R-Flowood) introduced the current bill to amend the Controlled Substances law.  A family in his district wants access to medical marijuana to reduce the seriousness of their epileptic child’s seizures.

The Senate passed a similar bill March 6th and, during the writing of this post, voted to push the House Bill to Gov. Bryant:

A pharmacist is all but required to understand the language of the bill but according to reports medicinal marijuana oil was added to the list of Schedule I Hallucinogenic Substances.  The oil is believed to help with pain and sleep problems and prevent seizures but without the high.

The drug would be controlled by Miss. licensed physicians and could only be dispensed by the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson.

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Gov. Bryant aims to end abortion in MS

During his State of the State address on 22 January 2014, Governor Phil Bryant (R-MS) announced the goal of ending abortion in the state of Mississippi.  “On this unfortunate anniversary of Roe versus Wade, my goal is to end abortion in Mississippi.”  According to CBS DC,

“Bryant did not propose any new restrictions on abortion, but he defended a law he signed in 2012, requiring hospital admitting privileges for anyone who performs the procedure. Mississippi’s only remaining abortion clinic, Jackson Women’s Health Organization, has been unable to obtain the privileges for its OB-GYNs, and filed a federal lawsuit in 2012 seeking to block the law. The clinic remains open, by court order, while the lawsuit is pending.”

After reducing the state’s unemployment from 9.4% to 8.3% during his first 2 years in office, Gov. Bryant listed numerous other goals in his annual speeach:

  • Continue economic growth
  • Improve public safety by hiring more State Troopers
  • Make the prison system more efficient and effective
  • Improve teacher performance and student test scores
  • Lower the teen pregnancy rate
  • Add “In God We Trust” to the state seal

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