Gov. Tate Reeves

At issue remains the amount of marijuana that can be obtained at any one time.

Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves took to social media on Tuesday to once again outline his position on a proposed medical marijuana bill in the state. Given the wording, it would not be unreasonable to suggest that should lawmakers not acquiesce to the Governor’s position, the bill as proposed could face a veto.

Reeves says the issue comes down to whether Mississippians want a true medical marijuana program or a program that leads to recreational use, something he does not support.

“Medicinal or Recreational marijuana? That is the question,” Reeves wrote. “I’ve repeatedly told the members of the Legislature that I am willing to sign a bill that is truly medical marijuana. One that has reasonable restrictions to ensure that it doesn’t have an adverse effect on Mississippi’s economy. One that has reasonable restrictions to ensure that it doesn’t disrupt Mississippi families. A program that helps those Mississippians who truly need it for an illness.”

Following the Mississippi Supreme Court ruling that deemed the initiative process flawed and struck down Initiative 65 from being implemented, Governor Reeves said he would be willing to call the Legislature in for a special session to address the issue if he and lawmakers could agree on the parameters of the bill.

Senator Kevin Blackwell and Representative Lee Yancey took on the challenge in their respective chambers, agreeing on a bill that was circulated to their members and then sent to the Governor for his consideration. The assumption was that the votes were there to pass the negotiated bill, but that was never confirmed as Governor Reeves noted in a press conference that he has heard from a number of concerned legislators who did not support it.

Reeves ultimately could not sign on to the negotiated bill from Blackwell and Yancey as, in his mind, it provided too much of the product at any one time.

Governor Reeves says in many ways, the work done on the original draft of the Legislature’s bill helped address some of these issues. The one sticking point remains how much marijuana any one individual can get in any given day.

“Unlike any other drug, this program allows virtually unlimited access to marijuana once you qualify,” Reeves wrote. “There is no pharmacist involved and no doctor setting the amount. There is only what legislators call a ‘budtender’ serving you pot.”

Reeves notes that the proposed bill allows any individual to get 3.5 grams of marijuana per day.

“A simple google search shows that the average joint has 0.32 grams of marijuana,” the Governor says. “Therefore, any one individual can get enough weed to smoke 11 joints a day. Every day.”

He sees that as problematic.

Governor Reeves believes that amount is too broad of a starting point. He is asking the Legislature to cut the amount in half to start the program.

“If it is determined in the future that more pot is needed in Mississippi, that could always be increased in future legislative sessions. Why not start carefully? I believe that is a reasonable approach,” Reeves says.

The Legislature is set to gavel in one week from today. The issue will move through the usual committee process and onto the floor assuming Governor Reeves does not call a special session during the regular session to handle specific bill.

Onlookers will be watching the vote total closely on any legislation that is passed, as that will tell the tale as to whether the Governor would exercise his veto power if what is passed does not meet his expectations.

You can read Governor Reeves’ full social media write up on the issue below:

Medicinal or Recreational marijuana? That is the question.

I’ve repeatedly told the members of the Legislature that I am willing to sign a bill that is truly medical marijuana. One that has reasonable restrictions to ensure that it doesn’t have an adverse effect on Mississippi’s economy. One that has reasonable restrictions to ensure that it doesn’t disrupt Mississippi families. A program that helps those Mississippians who truly need it for an illness.

In many ways, the work done on the original draft of the Legislature’s bill helped address some of these issues. There is one remaining point in question that is VERY important: how much marijuana any one individual can get in any given day.

Unlike any other drug, this program allows virtually unlimited access to marijuana once you qualify. There is no pharmacist involved and no doctor setting the amount. There is only what legislators call a “budtender” serving you pot.

We don’t have “pilltenders” for other medicine. This is unique.

The bill allows any individual to get 3.5 grams of marijuana per day. A simple google search shows that the average joint has 0.32 grams of marijuana. Therefore any one individual can get enough weed to smoke 11 joints a day. Every day.

In Oklahoma (which has a similar system of dispensing to what is proposed) 376,000 Oklahomans have signed up for a marijuana card. That is roughly 10% of the population of the entire state. An equivalent sign-up rate in Mississippi would yield 300,000 Mississippians with a card to get up to 11 joints per day. That would allow the disbursement of 3.3 million joints per day in our state, which is the equivalent of approximately 100 million joints per month.

That would be 1.2 billion legal joints sold in Mississippi per year. Call me crazy, but I just think that’s too broad of a starting point.

I am asking the Legislature to simply cut that amount in half to start the program. It is a simple fix.

If it is determined in the future that more pot is needed in Mississippi, that could always be increased in future legislative sessions. Why not start carefully? I believe that is a reasonable approach.

If you disagree, I respect your opinion. We can sit down five years from now and take a thorough review of the actual outcomes. But—as the dad of three daughters that I love dearly—I cannot put my name on a bill that puts that much marijuana on the streets of Mississippi.

I hope that legislative leaders will see fit to consider reducing the tremendous amount of weed they seek to make legally accessible so that I can sign their bill and we can put this issue to rest.

God bless you, Mississippi!!