Mississippi Legalizes Medical Cannabis
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Mississippi has become the 37th US state to legalize medical cannabis use.
Over a year after voters approved legalization, Governor Tate Reeves signed a legalization bill on Wednesday, February 2.
The new bill permits doctors to prescribe medical cannabis for severe health conditions such as cancer, AIDS, and Alzheimer's disease.
While the law took immediate effect, medical cannabis access may not be formalized in the state for at least a few more months.
Back in the November 2020 election, 69 percent of Mississippi voters cast their ballots in favor of legalizing medical cannabis.
After 14 months of deliberation, a bill to enact such a medical program went to the desk of Governor Reeves.
“There is no doubt that there are individuals in our state who could do significantly better if they had access to medically prescribed doses of cannabis,” Governor Reeves wrote in a statement after signing the bill.
Reeves has previously voiced concerns that a lax medical cannabis program could inadvertently enable a laisse-faire recreational cannabis market in the state.
“There are also those who really want a recreational marijuana program that could lead to more people smoking and less people working, with all of the societal and family ills that that brings,” he continued in his statement.
As such, Reeves and several other state legislators were keen to limit the amount of cannabis doctors could prescribe to three ounces per month (three and a half grams per day).
“This one change will reduce the total amount by 40% from the original version [of the bill] (I asked for 50%),” Reeves added.
“Said differently, there will be hundreds of millions of fewer joints on the streets because of this improvement.”
The law also gives cities and counties in Mississippi 90 days to opt out of allowing medical cannabis facilities and “protects” churches and schools from having a dispensary within a distance of 1,000 feet.