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If it survives a Mississippi Supreme Court challenge today, what’s next for Initiative 65?

Medical marijuana
Photo by SuperTalk Mississippi News

If Initiative 65 survives a Mississippi Supreme Court challenge today, it will remain in affect as part of the state constitution.  Agriculture Commissioner Andy Gipson serves on the Medical Marijuana Advisory Board.  He told SuperTalk MS there’s still a lot of work ahead for those tasked with making it happen.

Good Regulations are Key:

“There are regulations that are posted now about licensing of the testing facilities to make sure this is a good product.  And there’s a whole host of regulations that the Dept. of Health is helping to craft on the assumption that Initiative 65 is going to remain intact,” Gipson stated.  “One of the issues that comes up is should we allow just indoor cultivation or outdoor cultivation?  Or should we allow some kind of hybrid of that?”

Gipson admits he’s no fan of the initiative, which he felt would have a lot of unintended consequences and put medical marijuana factories all over our state.  He worries there are very few restrictions that can be placed on it.  But he did say if we’re going to have it, we need good regulations in place.

Concerns about a possible criminal element:  

“Security is a key concern of mine,” he told us.  But that isn’t all.  “One of my concerns from an Agriculture standpoint, what we’ve seen in Colorado for example, are these out-of-state conglomerates and some believe cartels owning and running these marijuana shops.  And we don’t want that in Mississippi.”

The lawsuit:

The city of Madison and its mayor, Mary Hawkins Butler, filed a lawsuit opposing the medical marijuana constitutional amendment just days before voters overwhelmingly endorsed medical marijuana in November.  Butler argues that the way the question reached the ballot was improper.  She opposed Initiative 65 because it limits a city’s ability to regulate the location of medical marijuana businesses.

Attorney General Lynn Fitch will argue that they’re defending the rights of all Mississippians: 

Attorney General Lynn Fitch says voters went to the polls with the expectation that their vote would be counted.  And she’s concerned about what could happen if the court rules the other way.  “It would void a number of issues that are important to all Mississippians.  Eminent domain.  Voter I.D.”

As the legal battle rages, the Mississippi State Department of Health is working toward an August deadline to set up the program.


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