As the November ballot approaches, the battle to sway voters towards medical marijuana legalization is heating up in Mississippi.
A statewide propaganda campaign against a voter-initiated cannabis legalization measure remains underway in Mississippi. The Mississippi State Medical Association (MSMA) and the American Medical Association (AMA) have released a memo this week teaching voters how to reject the measure because the ballot is inherently confusing.
“Physicians advocate for evidence-based solutions,” MSMA President Mark Horne told local news station WLBT. “When we were asked to review Initiative 65, it was immediately clear that this is an effort focused on generating profits for an industry that has no ties to the medical or health care community in Mississippi. That is just one of many red flags that makes a NO vote essential.”
Voters will choose between two medical cannabis legalization measures at the polls this November, one spearheaded by advocates and the other by state lawmakers. Initiative 65, submitted by Mississippians for Compassionate Care, would permit patients to possess 2.5 oz of cannabis per 14-day period.
After it qualified for the ballot, lawmakers approved legislation for Initiative 65A, an alternative legalization option. While the activist-drive Initiative 65 lays out firm groundwork for a medical marijuana program in Mississippi, including what patients would qualify, the lawmaker-driven Initiative 65A has vague language with no timetable for the program.
Supporters of the original measure believe the late addition of Initiative 65A is designed to mix up voters. An FM3 poll this summer found that 81% of voters support “doctors being able to recommend marijuana to patients with medical conditions and serious illnesses,” with Initiative 65 receiving double the support that Initiative 65A.
“We know that 81% or Mississippians support the medical use of marijuana for patients suffering from debilitating diseases. We also know that in 34 other states, medical marijuana is changing lives,” Jamie Grantham, the Communications Director for Mississippians for Compassionate Care, told WLBT. “It’s not a cure-all for everything, but it is certainly helping millions who otherwise are not able to get relief from traditional pharmaceutical medications.”