The Mississippi Supreme Court allows opponents of medicinal cannabis to question the voting results
The Mississippi Supreme Court heard arguments this week challenging the state’s overwhelming vote in support of medical cannabis last November, but proponents still have high hopes.
The Mississippi Cannabis Trade Association issued a statement following the oral presentation on Thursday that would determine the fate of the industry. If the challenge succeeds, it would essentially undo the Mississippi election night win for Compassion.
The idea behind the challenge is an old law that says you need 20% of your signatures to be from each congressional district in the state. The problem? Mississippi lost a congressional district in 2003, and officials never updated the law. Now the opposition is trying to use it as a de facto ban on electoral initiatives.
“The Mississippi Cannabis Trade Association (MSCTA) is excited to review the upcoming Mississippi Supreme Court ruling on the recent legal challenge to Initiative 65. In essence, it is about upholding the will of the Mississippi citizens and upholding their constitutional right to propose and pass changes to the electoral initiative process, ”the statement said. “The state constitution expressly provides certain enumerated rights for the people of Mississippi, and therefore its provisions should be construed to protect those rights and not destroy them.”
The wildly high 75% of Mississippians voted for medical cannabis for a list of 22 qualifying debilitating diseases last fall. To put it in perspective, that’s a 20-point higher profit margin than when California passed Proposition 215 in 1996.
Regardless of the burden on the court, the MSCTA is pleased to see regulators get the ball rolling for the deadlines set by the vote.
“The recent moves by the Mississippi Board of Health encourage the MSCTA to enact regulations that will lead to the creation of a vibrant and responsible cannabis market in Mississippi,” they noted. “The MSCTA would also like to emphasize that legal cannabis, whether for medicinal purposes or for adults, is a thriving industry that is growing rapidly.”
MSCTA also argued that the new economic sector would create thousands of jobs in the state, stating, “As more states officially recognize the medical and economic realities behind legalized cannabis, Mississippi should not be left behind – and its people decided against it.”
Should the Mississippi Supreme Court be any fun challenges at all?
Jessica Rice, executive director of MSCTA, spoke to the High Times on Thursday about where things are now.
“You know, we’re excited to see what happens to the Mississippi Department of Health and how they’re getting on,” said Rice. “And just, you know, we found both arguments good and strong to keep the initiative going and we are happy to leave that chapter behind and move forward. “
We asked Rice if she had ever seen any other election initiative in Mississippi that had been subjected to this type of test.
“Not to my knowledge,” she replied. “There have been controversial initiatives in the past, but nothing that was largely supported by the Mississippians and still faced so many challenges afterwards.”
Rice talked about how Mississippi voters feel when they watch all of this. “I think frustration. People want to be able to be part of the citizen process, “she said.” And if they feel they are on the right track and have undermined their voice or decision, it will reduce their confidence in the process. “
While the organization’s namesake is technically pending, MSCTA membership is actively trying to line up their ducks, whatever the licensing process will be.
“I think despite the challenges we’ve seen from lawmakers and the Supreme Court, people are still very excited about a medical marijuana program in the state and they are just looking forward to this industry coming here,” said Rice said.
Carly Wolf, Manager of NORML State Policy, also gave her an overview of the current legal proceedings.
“Opponents of legalization have shown time and time again that they cannot succeed either in public opinion court or at the ballot box,” Wolf told the High Times. “So they are now calling on the judges to put aside the votes of over a million Americans to override the undisputed election results. Whether or not you support marijuana legalization, Americans should be outraged by this openly undemocratic tactic [Mississippi Supreme Court] should refuse. “
We will keep you updated of the Mississippi Supreme Court ruling as it happens.