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Could the next step for medical marijuana in Miss. be lawmakers crafting their own program?

Senate Public Health and Welfare Committee holds medical marijuana hearing.
Senate Public Health and Welfare Committee holds medical marijuana hearing.(WLBT)
Published: Jun. 3, 2021 at 9:10 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WTOK) - Some members of the Mississippi Legislature are not waiting for a potential special session call from the governor to start looking at how to revive a medical marijuana program.

The Senate Public Health and Welfare Committee’s hearing questions may provide some insight into what parts of the medical marijuana program could get a rewrite.

”Would it make sense for us to treat medical marijuana as a local option where someone could have a referendum to vote whether they would want their citizens to utilize medical marijuana?” asked committee member, Democrat Sen. Barbara Blackmon.

Another potential change some lawmakers seemed to be interested in from Initiative 65 is the amount of marijuana and THC content allowed per person.

”Personally, 5 ounces in a month seems like a lot of marijuana,” said Republican Sen. Kevin Blackwell, who authored the Senate’s backup medical marijuana plan.

The Mississippi Medical Marijuana Association admits there are some changes in logistics they believe could be made.

”Putting everything under the umbrella of the health department was a short sighted mistake,” said Ken Newburger, executive director of the Miss. Medical Marijuana Association. “The purpose of that was to make sure that everything had one decision maker so that way it didn’t get gummed up in bureaucracy. But I think that the flip side of that is that we were asking your health department to do things that were very, very far out of their expertise.”

So what if lawmakers are called back for a special session and pass a medical marijuana program? How fast could it get up and running?

”The quickest that I think that could happen from a free-market perspective, and other people may disagree, but starting over and I think some people would kind of pull back, would be 6 to 9 months,” said State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs.

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