Mississippi Senate Sends Stern Message to House, Governor in 46-5 Passage of Medical Cannabis Bill

After Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves played games with calling a special session last fall, the state Senate did not pussyfoot on passing medical cannabis this week.

Making quick work on approving the Mississippi Medical Cannabis Act in committee, the upper chamber took up the legislation, Senate Bill 2095, on the Senate floor Jan. 13 and ultimately sent a stern message to the House and governor via a 46-5 vote for passage. The approval came just two days after the was officially introduced for this session.

The bill, which Sen. Kevin Blackwell has been working to craft since early 2021, would allow registered patients in the state to access up to 3.5 grams of medical cannabis flower, 1 gram of concentrate or 100 milligrams of THC in an infused product per day—or roughly 3.7 ounces of flower per month.

The proposed possession limit created rift between the Legislature and Reeves, who requested reducing the limit by half before he’d call a special session last fall. But that was just one of several requests the governor made, Blackwell told Cannabis Business Times last week. Reeves originally made nine requests, seven of which the Legislature accommodated, but then he kept coming back with more, and more, demands, Blackwell said.

Blackwell and Rep. Lee Yancey—both Republicans—did not budge on the possession limit for the compromise bill they agreed upon last fall, and Reeves never called the special session. The legislative effort by Blackwell and Yancey was intended to accomplish the goals of November ’s voter-approved Initiative 65, which the state’s Supreme Court struck down on a signature-gathering technicality in May 2021.

RELATED: Mississippi Supreme Court Overturns Voter-Approved Ballot Initiative for Medical Cannabis

In a social media post from late December, Reeves claimed the 3.5-gram-per-day limit would allow individuals to “smoke 11 joints a day” every day, which he could not stand by, opening the door for a veto threat this legislative session.  

Blackwell denounced that claim Thursday on the Senate floor, bringing a joint of hemp and other samples of low-THC products to the chamber, so he could try to convey a sense of scale to the rest of the body members.

“There’s been a lot of discussion in social media and on the radio about the amount of marijuana that we’re going to allow. Before everybody flips out, this is only hemp,” Blackwell said, and held up one of his samples. “This is three and a half grams of flower.”

Blackwell added, “There’s been other talk that this is 11 joints. ‘People are going to be getting 11 joints.’ No. I’m going to show you what a joint looks like, for those of you who don’t know. This will make about three and half joints a day.”

Blackwell also told CBT that he brought a 4-ounce sample of hemp to Reeves’ office when he met with the governor last week. While Blackwell said it was his impression that Reeves was appreciative of the direction S.B. 2095 was headed, the governor did not offer his blessing

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