Gov supports 'will of voters' on issue of medical marijuana

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

Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves says he wants legislators to put a medical marijuana program into state law after the state Supreme Court recently overturned one that voters approved.

Posted: Jun 7, 2021 1:56 PM

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves says he wants legislators to put a medical marijuana program into state law after the state Supreme Court recently overturned one that voters approved.

“I support the will of the voters. ... I think we will have a medical marijuana program in Mississippi," the Republican governor said during an interview that aired during the weekend on WLOX-TV.

A majority of justices ruled May 14 that a medical marijuana proposal, Initiative 65, was not properly on the November ballot because Mississippi’s initiative process is outdated and unworkable. The ruling overturned voters’ approval of Initiative 65 and took away citizens’ process to put issues on the statewide ballot.

Mississippi remains in the minority of states without a medical marijuana program. Reeves has not said whether he will call legislators into special session, but he told WLOX about passing a law: “It is imperative that we get it done, and get it done quickly."

The Senate Public Health Committee met last week to start discussing what could go into a medical marijuana law.

About 1.3 million people voted in Mississippi in November, and more than 766,000 of them voted in favor of the medical marijuana proposal. That’s about 10,000 more residents than voted in November for then-President Donald Trump, who easily won in Mississippi despite losing his race for a second term.

The crux of the Supreme Court ruling dealt with how signatures are collected for initiatives.

Mississippi requires initiative sponsors to gather one-fifth of their petition signatures from each congressional district. The process was put into the state constitution in 1992, when Mississippi had five districts. The state dropped to four districts after the 2000 census because of stagnant population, but the initiative process was not updated.

The state attorney general issued a legal opinion in 2009 saying initiative sponsors should collect signatures from the five old districts.

Madison Mayor Mary Hawkins Butler sued the state days before the 2020 general election, arguing that the medical marijuana initiative was not properly on the ballot. Her attorneys argued that the constitution creates a mathematical impossibility: With four districts, more than one-fifth of the signatures must come from each. A majority of justices agreed.

Butler opposed the medical marijuana measure because it would have limited cities’ ability to regulate where such businesses could have been located.

During Reeves' time as lieutenant governor from early 2012 to early 2020, attempts to update the initiative process went nowhere. In response to questions about that, Reeves told WLOX that, in hindsight, the problem should have been addressed. He said he wants the initiative process to be restored.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 320292

Reported Deaths: 7390
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto22299271
Hinds20782424
Harrison18455317
Rankin13933282
Jackson13740249
Madison10276225
Lee10068176
Jones8475167
Forrest7845153
Lauderdale7263242
Lowndes6524150
Lamar636688
Lafayette6315121
Washington5427138
Bolivar4842133
Panola4671110
Oktibbeha466398
Pearl River4610148
Marshall4576105
Warren4440121
Pontotoc426173
Monroe4163136
Union415977
Neshoba4066180
Lincoln4009113
Hancock387687
Leflore3516125
Tate342586
Sunflower339491
Pike3374111
Alcorn327474
Scott320374
Yazoo314771
Adams308586
Itawamba305178
Copiah299966
Coahoma299084
Simpson298689
Tippah292468
Prentiss284461
Leake272474
Marion271480
Covington267283
Wayne264842
Grenada264087
George252451
Newton249064
Tishomingo232469
Winston230382
Jasper222148
Attala215173
Chickasaw210759
Holmes190574
Stone188833
Clay187954
Tallahatchie180041
Clarke178980
Calhoun174232
Yalobusha167940
Smith164134
Walthall135547
Greene131934
Lawrence131424
Montgomery128943
Noxubee128034
Perry127538
Amite126542
Carroll122330
Webster115132
Jefferson Davis108534
Tunica108127
Claiborne103130
Benton102325
Humphreys97533
Kemper96729
Franklin85023
Quitman82316
Choctaw79218
Wilkinson69632
Jefferson66328
Sharkey50917
Issaquena1696
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 549394

Reported Deaths: 11328
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson810851571
Mobile42180832
Madison35733524
Tuscaloosa26186460
Shelby25638255
Montgomery25103615
Baldwin21921314
Lee16301176
Calhoun14725329
Morgan14650286
Etowah14192364
Marshall12465230
Houston10798289
Elmore10302214
Limestone10191157
St. Clair10166251
Cullman9975201
Lauderdale9621250
DeKalb8978190
Talladega8467184
Walker7351281
Autauga7244113
Jackson6993113
Blount6957139
Colbert6418140
Coffee5650128
Dale4931116
Russell455241
Chilton4476116
Franklin432082
Covington4283123
Tallapoosa4137155
Escambia402380
Chambers3731124
Dallas3609158
Clarke353361
Marion3264107
Pike314878
Lawrence3135100
Winston283672
Bibb268664
Geneva258782
Marengo250566
Pickens237062
Barbour234460
Hale227078
Butler225071
Fayette219763
Henry194844
Randolph187744
Cherokee187545
Monroe181041
Washington170639
Macon163051
Clay160159
Crenshaw156157
Cleburne153744
Lamar147237
Lowndes142154
Wilcox126830
Bullock124642
Conecuh113830
Coosa112129
Perry108826
Sumter106032
Greene93734
Choctaw62125
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