Mississippi was supposed to join dozens of other states with medical marijuana programs. People looking to grow and dispense marijuana for medical purposes were making plans, some spending millions on land and buildings. Those eligible under the list of 22 debilitating conditions were counting on it come August.
On Friday, the Mississippi Supreme Court flipped that reality upside down.
Its decision to overrule a voter-approved medical marijuana initiative has sparked outrage from several organizations. Some have started petitions, one coalition called for a boycott of the city of Madison — its mayor filed the lawsuit that was before the court — and another is planning a rally for June.
“The Supreme Court’s decision effectively told the people of Mississippi:’You have no voice, no vehicle for voter initiative, y’all’s power is over,’” said Diesoul Blankenship, with Mississippians for Medical Marijuana and co-owner of Magnolia. “It’s nothing short of erroneous and illegal.”
Initiative 65 — amending the constitution and legalizing medical marijuana — was overwhelmingly passed by voters in November.
The program came to a standstill when six justices ruled Friday that because the state’s initiative process is dated, the medical marijuana initiative is null. Added to the Mississippi Constitution in the 1990s as Section 273, the initiative process necessitates petitioners to get one-fifth of signatures from each congressional district to get an initiative on the ballot. [Read more at Mississippi Clarion Ledger]