As the November 3 ballot approaches, drug reform advocates in Mississippi will be happy to know that a majority of the state’s potential voters support the legalization of medical marijuana. After conducting telephone surveys with 600 Mississippians likely to vote in the November 2020 general election, California-based research company FM3 Research found out that 81% of them supported medical marijuana.
“In principle, four in five (81%) Mississippi voters support doctors being able to recommend medical marijuana to patients with medical conditions and serious illnesses, and more than two thirds (68%) do so strongly,” writes the firm in a key findings memo. The state has two legalization measures on the ballot, Initiative 65, which was placed on the ballot with the signatures of 228,000 Mississippians, and Alternative 65A which was placed on the ballot by the state legislature.
According to FM3 Research, Mississippians strongly favor permitting access to medical marijuana through Initiative 65, with 52% of the respondents supporting Initiative 65 and 23% supporting Alternative 65A. Ballotpedia states that “Initiative 65 supports approving the medical marijuana amendment as provided by Initiative 65, which would allow medical marijuana treatment for more than 20 specified qualifying conditions, allow individuals to possess up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana at one time and tax marijuana sales on the current state sales tax of 7%.”
On the other hand, “Alternative 65A supports approving the legislature’s alternative medical marijuana amendment, which would restrict smoking marijuana to terminally ill patients; require pharmaceutical-grade marijuana products and treatment oversight by licensed physicians, nurses, and pharmacies, and leave tax rates, possession limits, and certain other details to be set by the legislature.”
“Without Initiative 65, people are having to use pharmaceutical drugs to treat their pain and suffering. Are narcotics better? I don’t think so. This would be a whole lot better because there’s no side effects and there’s no addiction,” says Barbara Allen, a member of Medical Marijuana 2020’s steering committee. Medical Marijuana 2020 is behind the push for legalization, and the organization says that ignoring the harmful side effects of currently prescribed and legal medications cannot continue.
However, not everyone is happy about it. Jackson County Sherriff Mike Ezell says that it will create more work for law enforcement. “The sheriff’s office now answers between 26 and 2,800 calls a month. You add marijuana to this mix and, you know the teenagers and young adults, they’re gonna get it. It’s just like we talked about earlier with the brownies and the gummies and all the things they bring back from Colorado. We’ve made a number of arrests since I’ve been in office.”
“In summary, Initiative 65 stands a strong chance of passage in November 2020 in Mississippi. There is substantial support for medical marijuana in principle, and voters clearly distinguish between Initiative 65 and Alternative 65A,” the study concluded.
Industry watchers say entities like Pac Roots Cannabis Corp. (CSE: PACR) hope that the voters get accurate information about the two initiatives and vote based on concrete data in November.
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