In April the Mississippi Supreme Court is set to hear oral arguments on the constitutional challenge by Madison Mayor Mary Hawkins-Butler against Initiative 65, the Medical Marijuana Program passed by voters in November.
The appeal was officially made in October by Hawkins-Butler, challenging the amount of signatures the Initiative received to be placed on the ballot. She argued that it was put before voters unconstitutionally as it only required the set amount of signatures in a four congressional district make up, when Mississippi’s Constitution still operates on a five congressional district model.
The mayor is arguing in the appeal that the Mississippi Constitution itself provides that a petition by voters proposing an amendment to the constitution must have no more than 20 percent of its required signatures from each of the state’s congressional districts. The amount of signatures collected would not have reached 20 percent in a five congressional district model.
The decision for the argument to go to the Mississippi Supreme Court came just after the November election.
However, even current Secretary of State Michael Watson said he believes the initiative was certified properly under his predecessor Delbert Hosemann.
Watson’s response noted that even if their interpretative argument is correct, Madison’s action is “woefully untimely,” writing, “They could have asserted their so-called ‘procedural’ challenge years ago, and certainly when former-Secretary of State Hosemann officially filed Initiative Measure 65 in September 2019.”
As it stands now, the medical marijuana program is set to go into effect by August of 2021.