Last Update: February 6, 2014
Mississippi continues growing medical marijuana, but will the legislature act to protect the state's patients?
For the sixth straight year, Sen. Deborah Dawkins (D-Pass Christian), a compassionate leader, introduced medical marijuana legislation this session. Sadly, for the sixth straight year, the bill has been voted down in committee without even getting a hearing.
SB 2763 would have allowed seriously ill patients to use medical marijuana upon the recommendation of their physician, and protect them from prosecution. Legislators often think medical marijuana is politically risky, so it’s crucial that you let them know that protecting patients is not only the right thing to do, but it’s also what their constituents want them to do. Please email your representatives in Jackson today and ask them to support patients in the future!
Less than a month into the 2014 legislative session, and the state’s other marijuana policy reform bills have also been given the ax. On Feb. 4, the House Judiciary Committee declined to advance Rep. Deborah Dixon’s HB 659, which was intended to reduce the penalty for possessing small amounts of marijuana. HB 729 — a bill to study legalizing regulating marijuana was also killed.
In the irony of ironies, the University of Mississippi has been growing marijuana for the federal government's little-known medical marijuana program, the Compassionate Investigational New Drug program, for decades. Each month, the federal authorities send four patients a tin canister filled with about 300 pre-rolled marijuana cigarettes. If the federal government can grow medical marijuana for out-of-state patients in Mississippi, why can't Mississippi's seriously ill patients access the medicine they need?
Did you know Mississippi is a "decrim" state?
Mississippi is one of the 15 states that has decriminalized personal use marijuana possession. First offense possession of 30 grams (a little more than an ounce) is punishable by a $250 fine instead of jail time and a civil summons as opposed to arrest, as long as the offender provides proof of identity and a written promise to appear in court.
Unfortunately, new evidence suggests that Mississippi’s marijuana laws are not being evenly enforced. A 2013 study by the American Civil Liberties Union found that although blacks and whites use marijuana at nearly identical rates, blacks in Mississippi are 3.9 times more likely than whites to be arrested for marijuana possession.
Please write your state legislators to ask them to end marijuana prohibition in the state and replace it with a taxed and regulated system, as Colorado and Washington state have done.
To stay updated on the status of marijuana policy reform in Mississippi, be sure to subscribe to MPP’s free legislative alert service.