Mississippi voters consider medical marijuana measures

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DESOTO COUNTY, Miss. — Next Tuesday, voters in Mississippi are going to decide if medical marijuana becomes legal in the Magnolia State.

The lines are clear on who does and doesn’t support the possibility.

DeSoto County Chief Deputy Justin Smith said if approved, customers would be able to buy 2.5 ounces every two weeks.

Under Initiative 65, medical marijuana could be recommended for patients with at least one of 22 specified qualifying conditions and sales would be taxed at the state’s sales tax rate. It doesn’t specify qualifying conditions, how much a person could possess or a tax rate.

“In the middle of our public health crisis we have to set aside $2.5 million in tax funds to be able to set up legalized drug selling in the State of Mississippi,” said Smith, who has concerns over regulation, and sales near schools and churches. 

DeSoto County Sheriff Bill Rasco labeled marijuana  a “gateway” drug.

“I don’t think we need legal marijuana to be sold in the State of Mississippi,” Rasco said.

Rasco also said legalizing marijuana would make the job his deputy’s harder. He’s concerned about having what he called “pot shops” on every corner.

On the other side of the issue are people like Michael Stewart, who owns Pure CBD Solutions in Southaven.

His wife suffers from chronic pain and has to travel to other states for different forms of treatment.

“We noticed that cannabis and hemp and CBD and those types of things didn’t have the side effects that opiates had, and were actually able to mitigate her pain and she didn’t have the withdrawal symptoms that she had with opiates, so I’m very pro cannabis,” Stewart said.

The choice is also clear for Randy Nelson, who suffers from PTSD after serving in Afghanistan.

“I can only say that the main ones fighting against it clearly, for one, don’t need it, and  two, have never done it,” Nelson said.

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