JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – Nearly 75 percent of eligible Mississippi voters who cast a ballot in the 2020 general election supported Initiative 65. On Friday, the Mississippi Supreme Court overturned the medical marijuana initiative.
Those who followed this through from meetings with the Secretary of State’s Office to cast their ballot on the matter feel shocked their voice did not carry the weight it is worth. Others are confused as to why this had to happen.
Through Initiative 65, organizations like the Mississippi Medical Marijuana Association hoped to put an end to those suffering from certain medical conditions.
Ken Newburger, the director of the Mississippi Medical Marijuana Association, said, “We talked to people who had parents, grandparents, and loved ones or even themselves who had cancer and looking for relief in medical marijuana. Patients with multiple sclerosis or ALS debilitating conditions that were outlined in initiative 65.”
In a statement to 12 news, local attorney Andy Taggart believes it was the right move.
“The hardest job an elected supreme court ever faces is when it has to apply the law in the face of political opposition. I think the court reached the correct decision; we all owe the court our respect for following the law as it was written,” he stated.
For more than 20 years, Mississippi has not had a congressional fifth district, and this argument never stopped new ballot items coming on to amend the state constitution before Initiative 65.
Newburger said, “We did everything we were told to do and everything was correct. The thing that mattered was the intent of the framers of the constitution, who intended there would be a ballot initiative process. The court has made it clear they have removed that right from Mississippians.
Given its popularity amongst voters, people around Mississippi expressed confusion with why the outcome at the polls were overlooked.
Ajai Grishby, a Mississippi voter, said, “It’s already legal in other places and legal everywhere else, so why hold it back for Mississippi when Mississippi is always the last state to get anything else anyway?”
Activists like the Mississippi Medical Marijuana Association are unsure how they will approach the future to get a similar item on the house and senate floor. They also had full confidence the Mississippi State Department of Health (MSDH) could regulate cannabis accessibility.