Lawmakers working to complete medical marijuana bill draft

Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves during COVID-19 briefing on Oct. 19, 2020.

Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves says lawmakers working on a proposal to bring a medical marijuana program to Mississippi plan to have a draft of the legislation ready later this summer.

Posted: Jun 29, 2021 2:23 PM

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Lawmakers working on a proposal to bring a medical marijuana program to Mississippi plan to have a draft of the legislation ready later this summer, Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves said Tuesday.

“I think we’ll have something that we can have serious discussions about, hopefully relatively soon,” the Republican governor said.

Reeves addressed the issue of medical marijuana in Mississippi after he was asked about it by reporters during an unrelated news conference about a new occupational licensing law going into effect this week.

The state Supreme Court ruled in May that a voter-approved medical marijuana initiative is void because Mississippi’s initiative process is outdated.

Medical marijuana advocates were outraged after Initiative 65, a state constitutional amendment approved by voters in November, was thrown out. It would have required the Health Department to create a program to make marijuana available to people with “debilitating” medical conditions. The long list included cancer, epilepsy and sickle cell anemia.

Many lawmakers, including Lt. Gov. Delbert Hosemann, have said the Legislature should honor the will of the voters by returning to the Capitol outside of the normal session and passing medical marijuana legislation.

To do so, they need the approval of the governor. Reeves has said he will support a special session, but he does not want it to go on for too long, costing more taxpayer money. The governor said lawmakers need to come to a consensus on how to implement the program before returning to the Capitol.

Reeves said Tuesday that he’s had several conversations with Republican Sen. Kevin Blackwell, a lawmaker working to draft the proposed legislation. He said he understands legislators expect to have a draft bill “within the next couple of weeks."

Blackwell, of Southaven, is Senate Medicaid committee chairman and a member of the Senate committee on Public Health and Welfare, which has held hearings in the past few weeks on the issue.

Blackwell led an effort to get medical marijuana legislation passed during the 2021 legislative session. It would have acted as a backup to the ballot initiative, allowing some sort of medical marijuana program to come to the state if the Supreme Court threw out Initiative 65. That legislation passed the Senate, but not the House.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 514171

Reported Deaths: 10285
CountyCasesDeaths
Harrison34920557
DeSoto33270432
Hinds32652642
Jackson24876391
Rankin22516404
Lee16366245
Madison14932283
Jones14129247
Forrest13785260
Lauderdale12279324
Lowndes11314193
Lamar10663140
Pearl River9720244
Lafayette8855143
Hancock7839132
Washington7553169
Oktibbeha7216138
Monroe7036179
Pontotoc7003109
Warren6872178
Panola6768135
Neshoba6732210
Marshall6686142
Bolivar6451151
Union640898
Pike5933156
Alcorn5887107
Lincoln5533136
George510380
Prentiss505385
Tippah492783
Itawamba4857107
Scott478199
Adams4771125
Tate4765117
Leflore4736144
Copiah457095
Yazoo456692
Simpson4554117
Wayne443172
Covington434695
Sunflower4315106
Marion4279112
Coahoma4238109
Leake414090
Newton395782
Tishomingo384894
Grenada3777109
Stone365766
Jasper340866
Attala338790
Winston317892
Chickasaw316167
Clay312578
Clarke301295
Calhoun285949
Holmes271889
Smith269452
Yalobusha244247
Tallahatchie232053
Greene224749
Walthall221866
Lawrence219141
Perry213456
Amite209857
Webster206248
Noxubee188743
Montgomery181857
Carroll174941
Jefferson Davis173843
Tunica163339
Benton153139
Kemper145041
Choctaw136727
Claiborne134439
Humphreys132139
Franklin126029
Quitman107628
Wilkinson106139
Jefferson96934
Sharkey65321
Issaquena1957
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 845761

Reported Deaths: 16119
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson1161862004
Mobile742411381
Madison53315732
Shelby38351369
Baldwin38104589
Tuscaloosa36052641
Montgomery34492781
Lee25590263
Calhoun22598518
Morgan22459406
Etowah20026518
Marshall18790316
Houston17741425
St. Clair16904358
Limestone16153219
Cullman16067303
Elmore15912294
Lauderdale14991306
Talladega14209299
DeKalb12985269
Walker12067380
Blount10729192
Autauga10526157
Jackson10170194
Coffee9425192
Colbert9341208
Dale9024192
Tallapoosa7273201
Russell708865
Chilton7042170
Escambia6956143
Covington6943195
Franklin6338108
Chambers5785142
Marion5413130
Dallas5295209
Pike5123109
Clarke484886
Lawrence4831129
Winston4780110
Geneva4643136
Bibb434594
Barbour369980
Butler3439100
Marengo342393
Monroe337466
Randolph334867
Pickens333988
Fayette330085
Henry320766
Hale318489
Cherokee318363
Crenshaw260777
Washington256952
Cleburne254560
Lamar251953
Clay251169
Macon245064
Conecuh193162
Coosa185547
Lowndes178268
Wilcox177638
Bullock152545
Perry141840
Sumter139241
Greene130245
Choctaw93228
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