Legislative leaders in Mississippi have requested that Republican Governor Tate Reeves convene a special legislative session in the coming days to address medical marijuana access.
The request comes after lawmakers last week revealed that they have reached an agreement on a draft legislation to regulate medical marijuana access in the state.
If the Governor agrees to convene a special session, it would likely begin on Friday October 1.
On Election Day 2020, 73 percent of Mississippi voters decided in favor of Initiative 65, which established 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. However, just prior to the vote, officials representing the city of Madison – including the town’s Republican Mayor – filed suit arguing that the legislature’s failure to update guidelines for petitioners should invalidate the initiative vote. The state Supreme Court eventually decided 6 to 3 to nullify the vote in favor of Initiative 65.
The new legislative proposal being advanced by lawmakers permits qualified patients, including those with chronic pain, to obtain herbal cannabis and other formulations of marijuana from licensed facilities.
Localities would be permitted to opt out of allowing marijuana businesses to operate in their jurisdiction, a provision that differs from that of the voter-approved measure.
Medical marijuana products are subject to a seven percent sales tax rate, plus an excise tax of fifteen dollars per ounce. Products’ potency will be limited to 30 percent THC for flower products, and 60 percent THC for concentrates.
Due to the tax provisions included in the bill, the legislation requires passage from a supermajority of lawmakers. Nevertheless, House and Senate leaders say that they have the votes necessary in both chambers for passage.
The proposal is opposed by State Agriculture and Commerce Commissioner, Republican Andy Gipson, who says that his office will not participate in the plan because cannabis remains illegal under federal law. He has previously threatened to sue over the plan.