May 19, 2021

Mississippi Medical Marijuana Initiative Overturned by Mayor and State Supreme Court


With a stunning ruling that surprised marijuana advocates across the region, the Mississippi Supreme Courtroom not too long ago overturned Initiative 65, which would have proven a robust medical marijuana application in the Magnolia State. 

Guidance for Medical Marijuana beneath Initiative 65

The Court’s 6-3 decision invalidated a citizen-led initiative effort and hard work that was set on the ballot with over 214,000 signatures, and overwhelmingly accredited by the people with 74% of the vote. These types of widespread support for authorized cannabis is unheard of in the south, but the shouts of Mississippi voters fell on deaf ears in the condition Supreme Court docket. 

Ken Newburger, Executive Director for the Mississippi Healthcare Marijuana Affiliation lamented, “The Mississippi Supreme Court docket just overturned the will of the men and women of Mississippi. Clients will now continue on the suffering that so numerous Mississippians voted to end.”

Initiative 65 experienced ubiquitous voter assistance and would have established an effective clinical marijuana plan with statewide affected person access. Established organization owners and startup entrepreneurs were being going ahead with getting marijuana facility licenses, and the state regulatory company was commonly releasing procedures and rules that would be carried out in the plan. With all this ahead momentum and popular help, who challenged the initiative in the to start with area? 

Mayor Mary of Madison, Marijuana Foe

Mary Hawkins Butler— commonly acknowledged as “Mayor Mary” —  is 1 of the longest-serving mayors in United States historical past. She’s dominated Madison (a tiny suburb of Jackson) with an iron fist for nearly 30 decades, while quarrelling with other metropolis officials, working with family members monetary scandals, and forcing Madison small business house owners to conform to her personal cookie-cutter idealized storefront specs. She consolidates as a great deal neighborhood manage as achievable. She also hates weed.

Her out-of-contact sights on marijuana are akin to the movie, Reefer Insanity, as she evidently demonstrated her entire misunderstanding of clinical marijuana and the likely beneficial economic and general public overall health gains it could provide to her neighborhood. Whilst announcing her lawsuit in opposition to Initiative 65, she characterized her actions as combating to preserve “pot shops” out of her city by stating, “We were being on the lookout at what standing we could have. What we could do regarding guarding our citizens, our colleges, our designs and the future of Madison. Towns won’t be permitted to zone in which the pot outlets could locate. They’ve acquired a blank test to do what they want in zoning our communities.”

Medical Marijuana and the Mississippi Initiative Process 

Obviously Hawkins Butler’s challenges with the initiative stem from misunderstanding marijuana and dropping finish zoning command over healthcare marijuana dispensary amenities. Nonetheless her argument in the lawsuit known as out a technicality in the initiative method by deeming the total system “broken”. She asserted that the signature-gathering necessity is mathematically extremely hard with 4 congressional districts, and the initiative certification is based on the state’s former five congressional districts and not the current four districts. 

Sad to say for Mississippi sufferers and supporters of the ballot initiative method, the state Supreme Courtroom agreed with Hawkins Butler:

“Whether with intent, by oversight, or for some other rationale, the drafters of portion 273(3) wrote a ballot-initiative process that are not able to get the job done in a planet exactly where Mississippi has fewer than five associates in Congress,” Justice Josiah Coleman wrote for the vast majority in the ruling Friday. “To work in today’s actuality, it will need to have amending — anything that lies outside of the power of the Supreme Court docket.”

The justices ultimately dominated that Initiative 65 was void simply because the state’s initiative approach is outdated. Mississippi had 5 congressional districts when the initiative system was written into the point out structure as Part 273 in the 1990’s. The legislation essential petitioners to get one-fifth of their signatures from each individual congressional district. But the state shrunk to 4 districts just after the 2000 census, and language in the regulation was by no means updated. 

The condition Supreme Court docket ruling has wider implications than medical marijuana in Mississippi. Given that the justices resolved the out-of-date condition initiative approach was unconstitutional, their conclusion also phone calls into query other point out ballot initiatives, such as earlier handed initiatives and those at the moment engaged in the signature-accumulating approach. A single initiative authorized by voters in November would have eliminated the Confederate flag imagery from the Mississippi condition flag. However now Mississippi will stay in the minority of states without having clinical marijuana and keep on being in the past by remaining represented as the land of dixie. 

Supplemental Sources:

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