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Future of Mississippi voter initiative process rests with lawmakers

Photo courtesy of Telesouth Communications Inc.


When the Mississippi Supreme Court struck down Initiative 65 Friday it had little to do with medical marijuana, and everything to do with the initiative process itself.  In an appearance on The Gallo Radio Show on SuperTalk Mississippi, former state Supreme Court Justice George Carlson explained that when the initiative process was passed in 1992, there were 5 congressional districts.  “And all the language on getting the signatures on the petition relate to getting signatures from all 5 congressional districts.”

When Mississippi lost a congressional seat after the 2000 Census, that language was never changed, though there were 7 attempts by the Legislature to do so.

The impact of the ruling on pending and past initiatives remains to be seen, but Carlson believes Voter ID and other past initiatives will remain law.  “They didn’t address it at all on Voter ID or imminent domain or any of those other initiatives that have already passed.  That is a battle for another day if someone chooses to fight it.”

The Legislature could go into special session–should they choose-to try to circumvent any potential lawsuits.  Lt. Governor Delbert Hosemann said Friday that he expects lawmakers to revisit medical marijuana when the next session begins in January.

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