Mississippi cities, counties have until May 3 to opt-out of allowing medical marijuana businesses.

During the 2022 Mississippi Legislative session, lawmakers passed SB 2095 which establishes a medical marijuana program for the state. The move comes after the initiative process by which medical marijuana was approved by voters was struck down by the state Supreme Court.

Governor Tate Reeves signed the bill into law in February.

“The ‘medical marijuana bill’ has consumed an enormous amount of space on the front pages of the legacy media outlets across Mississippi over the last 3+ years,” Governor Reeves said. “There is no doubt that there are individuals in our state who could do significantly better if they had access to medically prescribed doses of cannabis. There are also those who really want a recreational marijuana program that could lead to more people smoking and less people working, with all of the societal and family ills that that brings.”

As part of the new law,Ā Mississippi cities and counties have until May 3, 2022, to decide whether they will opt-out of allowing medical marijuana businesses in their boundaries. Ridgeland and Pass Christian were the first two Mississippi cities to opt out of the Medical Marijuana program.

Clinton and Madison have become the latest cities to opt-out. Madison Mayor Mary Hawkins Butler announced on Tuesday that the city unanimously opted out of the Mississippi Medical Cannabis Act.

“Our community is our priority,” Hawkins Butler said. “The limitations over our zoning authority, the waiver to allow dispensaries and grow facilities closer to our churches, schools and daycares without notice to the public, and the increased danger to our first responders are only some of the factors that guided our decision.”

Hawkins-Butler initially challenged the number of signatures Initiative 65 received leading up to the 2019 election where it was placed on the ballot. The Mayor 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 Mississippiā€™s Constitution still operates on a five congressional district model,” as Y’all Politics previously reported.

According to SuperTalk Mississippi Media, eight cities in Mississippi have chosen to opt-out:

  • Pass Christian
  • Ridgeland
  • Brandon
  • Gluckstadt
  • Flora
  • Pontotoc
  • Madison
  • Clinton

In addition, counties can also opt-out of the program.

Should citizens choose to force the issue in their localities, a referendum process is permitted to allow voters in those cities or counties that choose to opt-out to have a say and potentially force the governing boards’ hands. Petition drives are underway in some of these locales even now.

You can read a full copy of the Mississippi Medical Cannabis Act below.

Mississippi Medical Cannabis Act by yallpolitics on Scribd