After months of debate and back-and-forth, lawmakers in Mississippi have lastly produced a invoice to implement a brand new medical hashish legislation within the state.
Republican state Senator Kevin Blackwell filed a 445-page invoice on Tuesday, in line with the Clarion Ledger newspaper, and the laws was promptly referred to the Senate Public Well being and Welfare Committee for evaluate by Lieutenant. Governor Delbert Hosemann.
The Clarion Ledger reported that the chair of that committee, Democratic state Senator Hob Bryan, has mentioned that he intends to carry the invoice up for a debate earlier than the panel on Wednesday.
So Blackwell’s invoice should successfully clear 4 extra hurdles with a purpose to turn into legislation: acquire approval from the general public well being committee; cross out of the state Senate; cross out of the state Home; and be signed by Republican Gov. Tate Reeves.
In different phrases: sit tight.
Nonetheless, the mere submitting of the invoice is itself a breakthrough after a 12 months of disagreement and delay surrounding the legislation.
Nearly 70 % of Mississippi voters accredited a poll initiative in 2020 to legalize medical hashish within the state for sufferers with qualifying situations that embrace most cancers, epilepsy or different seizures, Parkinson’s illness, Huntington’s illness, muscular dystrophy and a number of sclerosis, amongst others.
However regardless of such resounding public approval, the proposal has been met with resistance ever since. In Might of final 12 months, the Mississippi Supreme Courtroom struck down the initiative, ruling it unconstitutional on a technicality.
Following that call, state lawmakers have been engaged in months of negotiations with Reeves to provide a medical hashish invoice instead of the one which was nullified by the court docket.
In August, Blackwell expressed confidence that lawmakers might get a medical hashish invoice over the road.
“Effectively, I type of get uninterested in saying this, however we’re getting very shut,” Blackwell informed Mississippi Immediately.” And I’m positive the parents who’re on the market who’re wanting to make use of these merchandise for medical wants and definitely for the children with a few of their seizure problems (which might be) irritating for them. However we’re working daily on this making an attempt to advance to get to the purpose the place we will current one thing to the governor.”
In September, legislators produced a draft of a invoice, however Reeves by no means referred to as a particular session to think about the laws, citing issues with the drafted proposal.
“I’m assured we may have a particular session of the Legislature if we get the specifics of a few gadgets which might be left excellent,” Reeves mentioned at a press convention in October. “Once more, now we have made nice progress working with our legislative leaders.”
In November, Reeves cited one a part of the proposal that “forbid the Division of Public Security from having a task within the state’s potential medical marijuana trade” as a significant space of disagreement.
“Clearly, I wasn’t going to comply with that, so we’ve made some essential enhancements to the invoice, however we haven’t gotten to the purpose the place I’m comfy but in guaranteeing that now we have a program that’s actually ‘medical mariuana’ that has strict guidelines in place,” Reeves mentioned, as quoted by Mississippi Public Broadcasting.
The governor has additionally raised issues in regards to the quantity of pot a affected person should purchase at one time. Now, with the Mississippi legislature formally convening final week, lawmakers will look to cross the invoice in a daily session.
The Clarion Ledger reported that the brand new invoice filed this week “permits for medical marijuana card holders to buy 3.5 grams of the substance a day,” despite the fact that Reeves has mentioned that he “want to see that quantity lowered to 2.7 grams in most circumstances.”