Mississippi Secretary of State, Michael Watson today announced a series of five public hearings regarding Initiative Measure 65 and Alternative Measure 65A that are scheduled to take place in the old five Congressional districts during September and October.
The Mississippi state Legislature created Initiative 65A after Initiative 65 gained enough signatures to qualify for the November 3, 2020 ballot.
Both Measures would amend the Mississippi state constitution to allow for the medicinal use of cannabis by qualified individuals.
Under Initiative 65, patients with any of the 22 specified debilitating medical conditions would be permitted to possess up to 2.5 ounces of cannabis and sales would be taxed at Mississippi’s current sales tax rate.
Initiative 65 would also prohibit smoking cannabis in public places and violators would be subject to a $100 fine.
Initiative65A would allow only terminally ill patients to smoke medical cannabis and would leave the tasks of imposing possession limits and setting the tax rate to the state Legislature.
Initiative 65A would also require medical cannabis to be produced by state-licensed manufacturers at a pharmaceutical grade.
Licensed physicians, nurses, and pharmacists would oversee patient treatment under Initiative 65A, and patients would be required to enroll in a registry for tracking as well as assessing treatment results.
The Mississippi State Board of Health passed a resolution stating its opposition to Initiative 65, stating that the measure “would assign responsibilities to the Mississippi State Department of Health far beyond the scope and mission of the agency, including oversight of agricultural production of marijuana product processing, and tax collection.”
The Board argued that the measure would allow for vague reasoning for medicinal cannabis use and make it difficult to restrict the mechanisms of consumption.
The Board also noted that marijuana is still a Schedule I drug and illegal under federal law.
During the public hearings, voters will hear from speakers on both sides of each Measure and have the opportunity to express their opinions.
At each public hearing, doors will open at 5:00 p.m. and hearings will start at 5:30 p.m.
Public Hearing Schedule:
The Ford Center at Ole Miss
351 University Avenue
Oxford, MS 38655
Leflore County Civic Center
Greenwood, MS 38930
Jackie Dole Sherrill Community Center
220 West Front Street
Hattiesburg, MS 39401
Meridan City Hall Auditorium
601 23rd Avenue
Meridian, MS 39302
MS Civil Rights Museum
222 North Street
Jackson, MS 39201