Mississippi legislative group reaches agreement on medical marijuana proposal

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A Mississippi legislative group agreed on a proposed medical marijuana program that would be more limited than what voters overwhelmingly approved at the ballot box last November.

The proposed measure, for example, would enable local governments to opt out of cultivation, processing and retail sales in their jurisdictions, according to the Associated Press.

But residents could petition for an election to reverse that decision.

In addition, cultivation would be required to be indoors, the AP reported.

The next step is for the state’s legislative leaders to ask Republican Gov. Tate Reeves to call a special session so lawmakers can pass the proposed measure into law.

The lead negotiators for the state House and Senate, according to the Associated Press, said the bill would require a three-fifths majority to pass because tax issues are involved, but they believe there are enough votes for approval.

The agreement on a proposed measure comes four months after the state Supreme Court struck down the MMJ ballot initiative, derailing what was expected to be a large, business-friendly MMJ market in the Deep South.

The loss was believed to be the first time an MMJ initiative has been overturned after residents approved it at the ballot box.

A majority of the Supreme Court justices ruled the initiative was invalid because it didn’t meet the state’s requirement that 20% of the signatures come from each of five congressional districts.

The outdated requirement was impossible to meet because Mississippi lost a congressional district after the 2000 Census.

The 2021 MJBizFactbook had projected that a Mississippi medical cannabis industry based on the citizen-backed initiative would have generated $265 million in sales in the first full year and $800 million annually by the fourth year.