Activists in Mississippi have revealed that they are about to reach the required number of voter signatures in order to see an initiative about medical marijuana included on the ballot in 2020.
Once the organizers submit that list of signatures, the Secretary of State will go through it and certify that each of the signatures belongs to a valid voter in the state. The organizers have emphasized that they will not stop once they reach the minimum number of signatures required. Instead, they will keep gathering more until the submission deadline in September is reached. The extra signatures will serve as an insurance policy just in case some of the signatures collected are deemed invalid. So far, about two-thirds of the required number of signatures have already been collected.
State law requires that if the petition is to be included on the ballot, it must be supported by at least 86,185 registered voters across the state. Additionally, the law also sets minimum numbers of signatures that have to be collected from each of the Congressional Districts in Mississippi.
The initiative for which signatures are being collected seeks to create a law under which patients suffering from debilitating conditions can consult their doctors and obtain a recommendation to use medical marijuana.
22 qualifying conditions, including PTSD, cancer, chronic pain and epilepsy have been suggested as conditions for which patients can use medical marijuana. Patients who get recommendations from their doctors and are registered by the state will be eligible to buy a maximum of 2.5 ounces of medical cannabis within a two-week window.
Currently, the state only allows a limited number of patient categories to use CBD oil to manage their health conditions. This oil has to be purchased from a few highly regulated suppliers whose products have been subjected to rigorous testing at the National Center for Natural Products Research.
The NCNPR is based at the University of Mississippi where the only federally approved manufacturing facility for research-grade cannabis is based.
If the medical marijuana initiative makes it onto the ballot and gets the approval of voters, the Department of Health will be responsible for establishing and regulating a more robust system through which patients can access medical marijuana.
The steps taken to get medical marijuana on the ballot in Mississippi follow the regional trend which has seen several states make marijuana law reforms. Texas has decriminalized marijuana possession and passed a bill to expand its medical cannabis program. Similarly, Alabama’s legislature recently passed a bill to legalize medical marijuana while Georgia also expanded its medical marijuana program.
According to analysts, the positive changes in this region of the U.S. could signal to industry players like MustGrow Biologics Corp. and Marijuana Company of America Inc. (OTCQB: MCOA) that the entire country may soon embrace marijuana policy reform.
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