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Protesters demand MS Governor call special session for medical cannabis bill

Protest by the We are the 74 group outside the DeSoto County courthouse
Protest by the We are the 74 group outside the DeSoto County courthouse(WMC)
Published: Oct. 9, 2021 at 10:20 PM EDT
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HERNANDO, Miss. (WMC) - Nearly five months after the Mississippi Supreme Court overturned Initiative 65, the overwhelmingly supported constitutional amendment that would establish a medical cannabis program, the issue is making a resurgence.

On Saturday, protesters across the state called for Governor Tate Reeves to call a special session for the Mississippi Medical Cannabis Act.

In Hernando, protesters gathered outside the DeSoto County courthouse, collecting signatures and raising awareness of the latest push to legalize medical marijuana in the state of Mississippi.

“We are tired of waiting,” said Amy Smoot with the We are 74 Group. “We have sick people that are waiting for this. We need this now.”

Smoot’s group “We are 74 Group” was representing the 74% of Mississippians who voted for Initiative 65. They organized this protest at Hernando Square.

The bill is a 144-page piece of legislation that was agreed upon by state Republicans and Democrats, regulating the growing, prescribing and selling of medical marijuana in the state. At this time of year, it can only be voted on if a special session is called, something only Governor Reeves has the power to do.

“This is medical cannabis; it’s medical cannabis only,” Smoot said. “You’re not going to see people running around and smoking everywhere. There are rules and laws.”

The bill even allows localities like county governments to opt-out of the medical cannabis program.

Smoot herself says would benefit from the plant’s medicinal properties, claiming it’s better than the traditional medicine she takes right now.

“I am on narcotic pain medicine for my foot,” she said. “I have a broken heel, and I have to take those four times a day. I’m having problems with my liver now because of prescription drugs. Cannabis does not have side effects like these prescriptions drugs do.”

Smoot and others across the state plan to rally in front of the Governor’s mansion in Jackson next weekend.

“There are hurting and sick people all over the state,” Smoot said. “They don’t have medicine for their children, for their families, and it’s heartbreaking. It’s truly heartbreaking.”

State Senator Kevin Blackwell represents parts of DeSoto and Marshall counties.

In a text message, he said the final draft of the bill was sent to Reeves on Thursday.

Reeves apparently told legislators that if both sides could come to an agreement, he would consider calling a special session, and Blackwell says the ball is in Reeves’s court.

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