On Election Day, Mississippi voters overwhelmingly approved Amendment 65, a constitutional ballot initiative to establish a medical marijuana program for patients with debilitating conditions.
Despite open opposition to medical marijuana from former and current elected officials, Mississippians passed the measure convincingly, with 68% of voters supporting medical marijuana and 74% siding with Amendment 65 over the legislature’s alternative measure, Amendment 65A. Mississippi is now the 36th state to pass a compassionate and comprehensive medical marijuana program. The measure will become effective sometime in December, 30 days after the secretary of state declares the official election results.
In March, through a process permitted by the state’s constitution, the Mississippi Legislature approved a competing medical marijuana ballot initiative, 65A, which contained far more restrictions. Mississippians for Compassionate Care, the campaign backing Amendment 65, argued that 65A would not create a functional medical marijuana program. Voters decisively rejected the legislature’s competing measure.
Mississippi is one of the 27 states that have decriminalized — or, in 11 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 recent study by the American Civil Liberties Union found that although blacks and whites use marijuana at nearly identical rates, blacks in Mississippi are 2.7 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, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington have all done.