The Mississippi Supreme Court released their decision on Friday to overturn ballot Initiative 65, which legalized medical marijuana in Mississippi.
The court heard arguments on the case that was filed by Madison Mayor Mary Hawkins Butler several weeks ago. They ruled that based on the certification process outlined in Mississippi’s Constitution, the initiative was not properly certified and therefore invalid.
This decision could have repercussions for two other ballot initiatives that have been filed in the last 10 years as well as initiatives to come, including the newly campaigned Medicaid Expansion initiative.
Senator Kevin Blackwell who offered a piece of legislation in 2021, which would have been what he called an “insurance policy” in the event that this exact scenario happened, was not passed through both chambers.
“I plan to resubmit the bill in January and try to meet the will of the people,” said Blackwell. “The bill last year would have only worked if this exact thing happened. Had the House not killed it, people would have their medical marijuana program right now.”
Blackwell said 62% of people in Mississippi voted for Initiative 65 on the 2020 ballot and that the Senate wants to make sure people have a program. He said it was always 50-50 chance what the Supreme Court would decide and the Senate had hoped to have something in place in the event it went this way.
Lt. Governor Delbert Hosemann echoed the same sentiment and said, “The Senate passed backstop legislation which we anticipate revisiting in January.”
Representative Trey Lamar
“If I have said it once, I feel like I’ve said it 1,000 times. The language of Initiative 65 that would have gone into our constitution was not good for the people of Mississippi. I thank our Supreme Court for having the courage to rule according to the law and for protecting our citizens from the unintended consequences of Initiative 65. Now, we should craft a legitimate medical marijuana program that will truly help the people who would benefit from it without all of the unintended consequences that would have come with 65.”
Attorney Andy Taggart, former GOP candidate for AG and practicing Attorney:
” The hardest job an elected Supreme Court ever faces is when it has to apply the law in the face of political opposition. I think the Court reached the correct decision, but no matter how anyone voted in the referendum, we all owe the Court our respect for following the law as it was written.”
Ken Newburger, Executive Director for Mississippi Medical Marijuana Association:
“The Mississippi Supreme Court just overturned the will of the people of Mississippi,” said Ken Newburger, Executive Director for the Mississippi Medical Marijuana Association. “Patients will now continue the suffering that so many Mississippians voted to end. The Court ignored existing case law and prior decisions. Their reasoning ignores the intent of the constitution and takes away people’s constitutional right. It’s a sad day for Mississippi when the Supreme Court communicates to a vast majority of the voters that their vote doesn’t matter.”
“Like most Mississippians, Governor Reeves is interested and intrigued by the Supreme Court’s decision on the recent ballot initiative. He and his team are currently digesting the Court’s 58 page Opinion and will make further comment once that analysis is complete,” said Bailey Martin from Governor Reeves’ office.
Senator Brice Wiggins
This is why the MS Senate put forth the legislation it did this past session. Now there is no medical marijuana program. Now there is no citizen-led amendment process w/o #msleg action. @KevinBlackwell5 #overplay https://t.co/neItuEkLb3
— Sen. Brice Wiggins (@bricewigginsMS) May 14, 2021
Senator Derrick Simmons
— Sen. Derrick Simmons (@SenDTSimmons) May 14, 2021
Senator Joel Carter
Well I know one bill incoming for the 2022 Session. https://t.co/mj3i663AuP
— Senator Joel R. Carter, Jr. (@JoelCarterMS) May 14, 2021
Representative Chris Bell
Mississippi gone Mississippi every chance it gets. We would rather dwell in the land of Mediocrity than to dwell in the land of prosperity and progress. https://t.co/p1wK3bMIit
— Rep. Chris Bell (@MSRepChrisBell) May 14, 2021