SOUTHAVEN, Miss. — After a landslide win, Mississippi will soon become the 35th state to establish a medical marijuana program.
The vote means the Mississippi constitution will be amended to allow qualified patients to use medical marijuana. Supporters of the initiative say this win shows that Mississippi is ready to take a holistic approach to medication.
“I do feel like this is the power for the people,” said Mississippi resident Rica Gray. “If those in need are needing it, then I feel like, yes, give them the access that they need rather than them travel to a different state.”
Voters approved Initiative 65 with 74 percent of votes, meaning Mississippians with qualifying debilitating conditions such as cancer, epilepsy, and PTSD can soon be treated with medical marijuana.
The grassroots initiative has seen push back from the state health department, Gov. Tate Reeves, and even local law enforcement agencies.
“In the middle of our public health crisis, we have to set aside $2.5 million of tax funds in order to set up legalized drug selling in the state of Mississippi,” DeSoto County Chief Deputy Justin Smith said.
Under Initiative 65, if a person is diagnosed with one of the 22 debilitating medical conditions and a physician deems medical marijuana a treatment, the physician has the power to certify them to use the treatement.
Once deemed a qualified patient, the state health department would issue them an ID that would allow them to obtain medical marijuana from a licensed and regulated treatment center without criminal or civil sanctions.
Callie Vance, owner of Your CBD Store in Southaven, specializes in holistic healing and says she’s come across customers who have seen positive results using medical marijuana.
“I think Mississippi is obviously down for more natural alternatives and is getting more open and susceptible to cannabis as more of a natural alternative,” Vance said.
The state health department will regulate how the medical marijuana is grown and processed.
Identification cards and medical marijuana treatment center and business licenses will be issued by next summer.