Mississippi lawmakers react to Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Initiative 65

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JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – After the Mississippi Supreme Court overturned a medical marijuana initiative that voters approved last fall, Mississippi lawmakers reacted to the decision on Friday.

Governor Tate Reeves’ (R-Miss.) Office released the following statement, “Like most Mississippians, Governor Reeves is interested and intrigued by the Supreme Court’s decision on the recent ballot initiative. He and his team are currently digesting the Court’s 58 page Opinion and will make further comment once that analysis is complete.”

Lt. Governor Delbert Hosemann (R-Miss.) said, “The Senate passed backstop legislation which we anticipate revisiting in January.”

“This is why the MS Senate put forth the legislation it did this past session. Now there is no medical marijuana program. Now there is no citizen-led amendment process w/o #msleg action,” said State Sen. Brice Wiggins (R-District 52) on Twitter.

Mississippi Representative Jill Ford (R-District 73) said on Facebook, “I appreciate and respect the Court’s decision. This was a high profile, complicated case, and I applaud the Court for their diligence and hard work.  And Madison County, you should be very proud of your Mayor, Mary Hawkins Butler, she has once again been successful in protecting the people she has served for over 40 years. Now, I commit to you to write a bill in January that will give those in need medical marijuana while protecting our property values and the lives of our children.”

Northern Dist. Commissioner at the Mississippi Public Service Commission Brandon Presley said on Twitter, “Mississippians deserve the right to DIRECTLY impact their state gov’t through the initiative and referendum process. Today’s ruling means we must all (Ds, Rs, Is) work hard to reform this process, based on the ruling, and ensure THE PEOPLE’S right to amend the state constitution.”

“The Supreme Court ruling goes against the spirit of what the people overwhelmingly supported last November. I expect it to be appealed, and if not, I think other ballot initiatives, such as Voter ID, must be called into question,” said Rep. Zakiya Summers (D-District 68).

Six justices ruled that the medical marijuana initiative (Initiative 65) is void because the state’s initiative process is outdated. Three justices dissented.

The justices heard arguments in April 2021 for a lawsuit that challenged the state initiative process and seeks to block development of a medical marijuana program. The lawsuit was filed by Madison Mayor Mary Hawkins Butler. It argued the state’s initiative process is outdated and Initiative 65 should not have been on the ballot.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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