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Special session still a possibility for medical marijuana program 

Mississippi Legislature Capitol
Photo by News Mississippi

While it doesn’t appear that there will be a special session to address hospital needs amid the latest wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, lawmakers could be called back to the capitol to adopt a medical marijuana program. 

Conversations between members of the House and Senate have been ongoing since the downfall of Initiative 65—the program adopted by voters and subsequently negated by a Supreme Court ruling back in May. 

Representative Trey Lamar has been in those conversations and told SuperTalk Mississippi that, while there’s no final decision, lawmakers are working toward a consensus on the matter. 

“I think the parties are close enough at this point or will be in the foreseeable future, that if the governor so chose to call a special session, I don’t believe that it would take too long to get the parties to put a measure together and get it passed,” he said.

Rep. Lee Yancey and Senator Kevin Blackwell are leading the effort in their respective chambers. During the 2021 session, Blackwell authored a bill that aimed to provide a contingency plan for Initiative 65. The bill passed the Senate but died in the House.  

A special session is typically called after an agreement has been reached between each chamber and that call can only be issued Governor Tate Reeves.

“The ball is in the governor’s hands. If he wants to do it then we’ll respond and we’ll come to Jackson and we’ll get it done. If not, then I guess we’ll wait until January,’ Lamar said.

Lamar did say that getting medical marijuana taken care of during a special session may be the most efficient way to do it rather than waiting until the 2022 session. 

“I’ve seen issues that should be easily agreed to by both sides get caught up in everything that goes on during a regular session. So, if we want to make sure we get it done, a special session is probably the most efficient way to do that,”  he said.

Lamar shared that a fix to the initiative process hasn’t been a part of the special session conversations, but lawmakers will likely address it in 2022. Any change made by the legislature must be adopted by voters during the next statewide election—set for November 2022. 

Watch his full comments below:

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