Barely weeks before voters in Mississippi decide which of the competing medical marijuana initiatives before them will pass, the state governor has signed a bill that will allow FDA-approved medical cannabis products, such as Epidiolex, to be available to qualifying patients in the state.
By enacting this new law, Gov. Tate Reeves (R) has complicated the subject of medical marijuana legalization a little more.
For starters, the governor has been opposed to any plan to legalize medical marijuana in the state. To him, such a step would make marijuana a mainstream product, and that is a possibility he is unwilling to see happen under his watch.
Additionally, Initiative 65 sponsored by Mississippians for Compassionate Care met all the requirements to be included on the November ballot, and campaigns are underway to mobilize voters to cast their ballots in favor of this measure.
Under Initiative 65, patients with one of the proposed 22 qualifying conditions, such as cancer, chronic pain and seizures would be allowed to get a prescription from a doctor and possess up to 2.5 ounces of medical marijuana within a two-week window.
However, another competing measure will also be on the November ballot. This second measure was drafted by the legislature and it is seen as a more strict legalization law which doesn’t have a lot of the provisions in Initiative 65.
There are fears that voters could be confused by these two conflicting medical marijuana legalization measures, and that confusion could disadvantage Initiative 65. This fear gets more credence when you consider the fact that the American Medical Association, alongside the Mississippi State Medical Association, have widely circulated a sample ballot paper which gives voters directions on how to reject Initiative 65.
Observers say the governor may have had less than noble intentions when he signed the bill removing FDA-approved cannabis-based medicines from the state’s controlled substances law. It is believed that the intention of that law is to mislead voters into thinking that the state has already legalized medical marijuana, so there is no urgent need for them to support Initiative 65.
The team behind Initiative 65 therefore has a lot of work to do before success can be theirs, but they can at least count on the opinion polls which indicate that the population of voters in Mississippi overwhelmingly supports their legalization initiative. For example, a recent survey gives the measure 81% voter support.
Entities like Pac Roots Cannabis Corp. (CSE: PACR) probably think that the outcome of the voting may be too close to call given the different factors surrounding what is at stake.
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