The Mississippi Cannabis Trade Association is trying to ensure medical cannabis access for all those who need it—even patients in cities that have opted out of the state’s medical cannabis program.
The industry group is holding signature drives in local municipalities that have opted out of hosting medical cannabis businesses to give voters a chance to opt back in, according to a local WAPT report.
Mississippi voters approved medical cannabis legalization by more than a two-thirds majority in the 2020 election, but the state’s Supreme Court overturned the measure in May 2021 due to a signature-gathering technicality.
Sen. Kevin Blackwell and Rep. Lee Yancey then fought to restore the will of their constituents through legislation to legalize medical cannabis. The bill cleared the Legislature in January and Gov. Tate Reeves signed it into law in February.
The law allows Mississippi’s counties and municipalities to opt out of hosting medical cannabis cultivators, processors and dispensaries within three months of the bill being signed into law, but residents can petition for a special election to overturn their city’s decision.
Residents must collect 1,500 signatures to get a special election, WAPT reported, and once the signature requirement is met, the city has 60 days to hold the election.
The Mississippi Cannabis Trade Association held a petition drive last weekend in Ridgeland, which opted out of the medical cannabis program earlier this month. The City Board of Alderman said they wanted additional time to understand the Mississippi State Department of Health’s rules and regulations.
"We wanted it from the start,” Letha Crump, a resident of Brandon, another city that has opted out of the program, told WAPT. “Now we've got to fight back again for the same thing we voted for to begin with."