The Mississippi Supreme Court hears oral arguments today in a legal challenge that seeks to nullify a November vote legalizing the production and dispensing of medical cannabis to qualified patients.
On Election Day, 73 percent of Mississippi voters decided in favor of Measure 65, which establishes a system of state-licensed dispensaries to engage in the retail dispensing of cannabis and cannabis products to patients who possess a doctor’s authorization. Just prior to the vote, officials representing the city of Madison – including the town’s Mayor – filed suit arguing that the legislature’s failure to update guidelines for petitioners with should invalidate the initiative vote.
Specifically, state statutes call for petitioners to gather an equal percentage of signatures from five congressional districts. However, following redistricting in 2000, there are only four congressional districts in the state. Lawmakers since that time have failed to update the statute.
NORML State Policies Manager Carly Wolf criticized the legal challenge and urged justices to uphold the initiative vote. “Legalization opponents have shown time and time again that they cannot succeed in either the court of public opinion or at the ballot box. Thus, they are now asking judges to set aside the votes of over a million Americans in a desperate effort to override undisputed election outcomes. Whether or not one supports marijuana legalization, Americans should be outraged at these overtly undemocratic tactics, and the Court should reject them.”
If the vote is affirmed by the Court, Mississippi: will be the 36th state to legalize medical cannabis access.
The case is Mary Hawkins Butler v. Michael Watson, Miss., 2020-IA-01199-SCT.