Republican lawmaker sponsors marijuana policy reforms

 

Last update: August 21, 2017

 

While 29 states and the District of Columbia allow medical cannabis, seriously ill patients in Mississippi are still criminalized if they use this safe and effective treatment option. Continuing the fight he started last year, Republican State Rep. Joel Bomgar (Madison) filed several bills, including HB 179, which would establish a medical marijuana pilot program in the state, allowing seriously ill patients suffering from certain specific conditions to use and safely access medical cannabis with a doctor’s recommendation.

Unfortunately. HB 179 was defeated again this year; however, it’s not uncommon for medical marijuana efforts to take multi-year campaigns before they prevail. That’s why your lawmakers need to hear from you that you want to see sensible reform!

Back in 2014, along with a slew of other traditionally conservative states, Mississippi passed a law allowing for the limited use of certain types of medical marijuana. This law provides an affirmative defense to individuals suffering from debilitating seizure disorders for the use and possession of high-CBD, low-THC cannabis extracts. While this measure only protects a tiny number of the patients who could benefit from medical marijuana, it is a step in the right direction. For more information about this law, check out our summary here.


Did you know Mississippi is a “decrim” state?

 

Mississippi is one of the 22 states that have decriminalized — or, in eight cases, legalized — 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, data indicates 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 Mississippi and replace it with a taxed and regulated system, as Alaska, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington have all done. Three bills have been filed this session that would do exactly that, SB 2379, HB 1444, and HB 1443. Ask your lawmakers to support this sensible reform!


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