State health officials urge Mississippians to vote “no” on Initiative 65

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JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – State health officials are urging Mississippi voters to vote “no” Initiative Measure No. 65 in November, stopping the legalization of medical marijuana. They said the measure would require the Mississippi State Department of Health (MSDH) to take on the responsibility of a new agriculture program as well as oversee the distribution of a substance that is illegal under federal law.

“It’s no secret that the State of Mississippi works overtime to try and effectively provide public health resources to our most vulnerable citizens,” said Thomas Dobbs, MD, the state public health officer. “Initiative 65 would inappropriately require us to divert already-limited resources for the benefit of an incredibly complicated industry. Fees and charges generated would only be available to support the marijuana program. No revenue would be available to support the state, communities or public health efforts.” 

“Of the many diseases and ailments listed in Initiative 65 where ‘medical marijuana’ could be used as treatment, there is little to no credible scientific evidence establishing this as a trusted alternative to FDA-approved pharmaceuticals. Without the rigorous testing of medications, using unverified treatment options poses a great threat to those patients needing reliable relief for their condition,” said Randy Easterling, MD, a past president of MSMA and its representative on the AMA Cannabis Task Force.

“Amending a state constitution to legalize an unproven drug is the wrong approach,” said AMA President Susan R. Bailey, MD. “Early data from jurisdictions that have legalized cannabis are concerning, particularly around unintentional pediatric exposures that have resulted in increased calls to poison control centers and emergency department visits, as well as an increase in traffic deaths due to cannabis-related impaired driving.” 

Click here to learn more about what will appear on the Mississippi ballot in November.

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