UPDATE Friday 1:30 A.M.:
The Senate adjourned officially on Thursday at 11:45 only to return at 12:01 on Friday morning, a procedural move that allowed them to take up items on the Motion to Reconsider calendar.
Making their way through the list they came to SB 2765 shortly after 12:30 a.m. The bill was debated for roughly an hour with several members including Senator McDaniel, Sen. Blackmon and Sen. Harkins speaking for and against the bill.
Due to the quorum present on what was a new day of work, the bill passed by a vote of 30 to 19. It will now move to he House. The Senate then adjourned until 4:00 p.m. on Monday.
Here’s the original vote and change on SB2765. Chassaniol, Branning and Witherspoon take a walk. And Suber flips from present to Yea. @DelbertHosemann and his crew whipped this one through by the oldest tactic in the book. Changing the math. #msleg #medicalmarijuana https://t.co/BfAdIGRFYK pic.twitter.com/1DQtp5mdqJ
— Yall Politics (@MSyallpolitics) February 12, 2021
After several recesses on deadline day to rally votes for the bill, SB 2765, the Mississippi Medical Cannabis Act, failed in the Senate by a vote of 30 to 21.
The bill was authored by Senator Kevin Blackwell who said the intent of the bill was not to replace or overshadow Initiative 65, but to offer an alternative program for the state in the event the Supreme Court invalidates Initiative 65 in upcoming suits that have been filed.
Major changes were made to the original bill in the form of amendments and the bill was ultimately held on a motion to reconsider. This motion will be dealt with on Friday, solidifying whether the bill will live on or not.
The Mississippi Supreme Court is set to hear arguments in the case filed by Madison Mayor Mary Hawkins-Buttler on the validity of Initiative 65. She challenges that the amount of signatures required for the initiative to be on the ballot was not met.
The program created in the legislation had a variety of differences from Initiative 65. The largest of which would be the sales tax revenue generated from the sale of medical cannabis. It proposed a 7% sales tax on the product, where no sales tax would be collected through 65.
Initiative 65 did charge a fee on medical marijuana but could not classify it as a sales tax as it would be funneled into the Mississippi State Department of Health to run the program.
In the original bill there was a cap on the amount of dispensaries that could be located in a county. It indicated one dispensary per county, unless the county has a population of over 30,000 people. That stipulation as changed in the amendments added Thursday night.