Mississippi House passes resolution to put 2nd medical marijuana proposal on November ballot

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JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – The Mississippi House of Representatives passed a resolution to put a second medical marijuana proposal on the ballot in November 2020.

House Concurrent Resolution 39 proposes to create a new article of the Mississippi Constitution as a legislative alternative to Ballot Initiative No. 65 regarding medical marijuana.

Supporters said the House’s proposal would eliminate problems with Ballot Initiative No. 65. Opponents said it’s designed to split the vote and kill both ballot initiatives.

The house passed the resolution 71-49. Click here to read HC 39.

Mississippians for Compassionate Care has released a statement about the House’s decision on the second medical marijuana ballot:

Tuesday on the House floor, Speaker Philip Gunn (R-Clinton) led an effort to deny Mississippians a fair vote on the medical marijuana initiative. On a roll call vote, the legislative alternative (HCR 39) passed 72-49. It will now move to the Senate. If approved by the Senate, the legislative alternative will be listed alongside our initiative (Ballot Initiative 65) in a way that will prevent a fair up-or-down vote on medical marijuana by confusing voters. The Speaker is opposed to medical marijuana and is opposed to a fair vote on the initiative signed by more than 228,000 Mississippians. He used every bit of his power to muscle through the alternative and pressure House representatives to vote with him, even if they supported the people’s right to a fair vote in November. The two representatives who helped him do it were Jason White (R-West) and Trey Lamar (R-Senatobia). Led by Representatives Gunn, White, and Lamar, the House showed this morning that they couldn’t care less about the people who are suffering from debilitating medical conditions in our state and who could be helped with medical marijuana. The battle now shifts to the Senate. We hope that Lt. Governor Delbert Hosemann and the Senate will do the right thing and oppose this alternative amendment to give Mississippians a fair vote on medical marijuana this November.”

Jamie Grantham, Mississippians for Compassionate Care Communications Director

House Speaker Philip Gunn released a statement about the passing of the resolution:

The legislative alternative gives people who are in favor of medical marijuana a responsible pathway to having it. The alternative allows the public to vote for medical marijuana without legalizing recreational marijuana. Anyone who has read the proposed initiative 65 and listened to the debate on the House floor can see that there are tremendous problems with the initiative. It goes way beyond what it has been represented to be and comes extremely close to legalizing recreational marijuana. It does not allow the tax revenue from marijuana sales to be used by the State. It essentially exempts the sale of marijuana from local zoning ordinances. It totally removes the taxing and appropriation authority from the legislative branch and gives it to an executive branch, which is a complete violation of the separation of powers. Ultimately, it is not what most people mean when they say that they are for medical marijuana. Initiative 65 is not good public policy. The alternative passed by the House gives Mississippians the opportunity to vote for a legitimate, reasonable medical marijuana program that would meet the needs of those who could benefit from the program.

Rep. Philip Gunn, House Speaker (R-Miss.)

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