2020-21 Improvements and Recommendations

In the 2020 November elections, Mississippi voters chose to create a medical cannabis program to serve its citizens in need through ballot initiative 65. Shortly after the initiative passed, the mayor of Madison, Mississippi filed a legal challenge arguing not that medical cannabis itself would be unconstitutional, but that petitioners had violated procedural rules in getting the initiative onto the ballot. In May 2021, the Mississippi Supreme Court sided with the challengers and nullified the will of Mississippi’s people.

ASA encourages state lawmakers to listen to the constituents of Mississippi and initiate work focused on building a comprehensive medical cannabis program. Such a program should provide legal protections to patients related to employment, housing, education and family law. The system should also authorize an in-state production system for lab-tested medical cannabis and cannabis products that can be made available to patients at legal retailers. ASA also recommends that lawmakers authorize patients and caregivers to cultivate cannabis at home to reduce costs to patients. Ideally, caregivers should even have the option to become retailers themselves or to sell products tested for safety by a third-party laboratory to retailers for consumption by patients. Home and small-scale cultivation would offer patients a greater variety of options to treat their condition, and address cost challenges cannabis patients face due to the lack of insurance coverage of cannabis products.