Saturday, December 9, 2023

Miss. state senator gives update on medical marijuana

JACKSON, Miss. (WDAM) – The fate of medical marijuana now rests in the Mississippi legislature’s hands after the state Supreme Court struck down Initiative 65 earlier this year.

It’s no longer a question of, should there be a medical marijuana program in Mississippi.

“I think something ought to be able to be agreed upon between the two chambers given how popular this idea is,” said Sen. Joey Fillingane, who represents District 41.

Now the question seems to be, what should the program look like?

“You could have a medical marijuana called medical marijuana but really a recreational use marijuana. Or, you could have the very strict, truly medical marijuana type program,” Fillingane said.

Since Initiative 65 got the ax from the state Supreme Court due to an outdated initiative process, it’ll take action from the state legislature for a medical marijuana program to be established in Mississippi.

“The point right now we’re trying to get to is what do we want to do. Do we have legislation drafted that would accomplish that, and do we have consensus from the house and the senate that there is sufficient majorities in both chambers to pass the bill. My guess is that there will be,” Fillingane said.

According to Fillingane, the state senate’s public health committee has held a few hearings about the topic. Members heard from medical experts and legislators from other states with established medical marijuana programs.

“We’ve heard from Dr. Thomas Dobbs, of course, to get the State Board of Health’s perspective. We have lots of states that we can look to how do you set up your program, how is it working, what were the problems with it, how did you fix those problems,’” Fillingane said.

Though the legislature isn’t set to return to session until January, Fillingane says he expects the governor will call a special session sooner than that.

“The governor has indicated that he will call us back into session just as soon as that agreement is reached between the house and the senate. So, this could happen well before January,” said Fillingane.

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