Senate Bill 2765 of the 2021 Regular Session of the Mississippi Legislature, which would have established an alternatively regulated medical marijuana program if Initiative 65 were to be struck down by the courts, died today in the House of Representatives. The legislation failed after being tabled by a vote of the full House on the deadline for passage of the measure. The bill can only be resurrected by a two-thirds vote to suspend the rules in each chamber.
What it Means.
Barring further legislative efforts to resurrect SB 2765 or insert an alternative Medical Marijuana program in other pending legislation, the fate of legal cannabis for qualified patients in Mississippi rests exclusively with the Mississippi Supreme Court.
The use of Medical Marijuana in Mississippi was approved by nearly 74% of those voting on Initiative 65 last November. The Initiative was quickly challenged through a direct action filed in the Mississippi Supreme Court by the Mayor of Madison, Mississippi. Briefing is complete and the Court has set oral arguments to take place on April 14, 2021, 10 days after the date the Legislature is currently set to adjourn sine die.
The Mississippi Department of Health is charged under Initiative 65 with adopting final rules and regulations to govern the program no later than July 1, 2021. The agency is also required to issue identification cards for patients and licenses for those growing, transporting, and dispensing Medical Marijuana on or before August 15, 2021. The program is still sanctioned under state law and these deadlines remain operational unless and until the Supreme Court rules otherwise.