Lawmakers are still working out the details of a medical marijuana program. They’re considering having the Dept. of Agriculture license and regulate growers and processors. Agriculture and Commerce Secretary Andy Gipson made it clear this morning during an interview with SuperTalk Mississippi that he wants no part of it. Gipson worries it will distract the agency from their primary focus, which is to support the farmers. He’s also concerned about what it would cost to run the program.
“Our farm groups do not want this program under the Department of Agriculture. We gotta 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 stressed during an interview on The Gallo Show.
Gipson says he has legal concerns, as well. “They’re asking the Dept. of Agriculture to license something that is illegal under federal law.” He says marijuana is a drug, it’s not an agriculture product. “Agriculture is the production of food, fiber and shelter.” Under federal law, it’s illegal for farmers to participate if they want to get U.S.D.A. crop insurance or disaster payments or otherwise participate in the farm service agency programs.
Before Initiative 65 was struck down by the state Supreme Court, the State Health Department would have overseen the entire program. They did have the option to bring in other agencies to help.