The Business and Industry Political Action Committee (BIPEC) and its Board of Directors opposes constitutional Initiative 65. Initiative 65 will be on the November 3rd ballot and would legalize the use of marijuana for medical purposes, with several troubling details for implementation.

BIPEC is concerned with the overreaching language of Initiative 65. A significant concern is the likelihood of marijuana-related employment lawsuits. Employers could face the risk of litigation because of impaired employees hurting someone on the job or damaging the business. Also, at issue is that our elected officials will have no input on the location and regulation of the marijuana industry. This, coupled with the fact that no revenue from Initiative 65 will go to improve our communities, makes initiative 65 a bad proposition for Mississippi voters. The business community members are active participants in our state’s economy through job creation and contributions to our state’s tax base. If passed, Initiative 65 provides a tax exemption to the marijuana industry in Mississippi and because the language will be enshrined in the constitution, the policy is near permanent.

Perhaps the most compelling reason to vote against Initiative 65 is the fact that it would amend our state’s constitution. If this happens, any future efforts to address issues arising out of the passage of 65, including those issues stated above, would be near impossible to fix. Legalizing an industry with unprecedented authorities and no oversight from elected officials in our state constitution is a horrible precedent.

However, if voters want to legalize marijuana through the constitutional amendment process, they should vote for the alternative, 65A. Alternative Measure 65A is a more logical choice that directs the state legislature to set guardrails to oversee the legal use of marijuana.

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Release from BIPEC.