Mississippi lawmakers are working on legislation to legalize medical cannabis in the state after the Mississippi Supreme Court overturned a voter-approved legalization initiative in May, but Agriculture and Commerce Secretary Andy Gipson is wary of a proposed plan that would require the Department of Agriculture to license and regulate the industry.
During an Aug. 27 interview with SuperTalk Mississippi, Gipson expressed concerns that overseeing a medical cannabis program would distract the department from its primary focus of supporting the state’s farmers.
“Our farm groups do not want this program under the Department of Agriculture,” he said. “[We’ve got to] stay focused on supporting our farmers and legal agriculture, not this illegal substance that they’re basically asking me to bless. I’m not ready to do that.”
Gipson said he is hesitant to regulate something that remains federally illegal, and classified cannabis as a drug rather than an agricultural product.
Initiative 65, which passed in the November 2020 election before being struck down by the Mississippi Supreme Court, charged the Mississippi State Department of Health with regulating the program.