Lawmakers met for the second time Monday as they evaluate the possibility of medical and even a recreational marijuana program in Mississippi.
The second hearing by state Senate Health and Welfare Committee on medical marijuana showed that there is plenty of real estate between those who are against any sort of program, supporters of a very limited program and those who want a more liberalized, free-market system or even a recreational one.
Lawmakers are trying to fill the void left by Initiative 65, which was passed by 56 percent of the state’s voters and was struck down by the state Supreme Court along with the state’s entire ballot initiative process over a technicality on congressional districts.
The options could include:
A strictly limited medical program like Utah or Alabama which doesn’t allow smokeable cannabis, strict limits on the psychoactive substance tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in cannabis products and only a limited number of retailers and patients allowed to utilize the system. While there likely wouldn’t be a three-tier system such as alcohol distribution (where the three tiers of production, distribution and sales are kept independent by law), the number of permits for dispensaries would be capped.
Utah state Sen. Evan Vickers, R-Cedar City, told the committee that he wanted to keep Utah’s program on the medical professional side after visiting surrounding states such as Colorado and Nevada with more liberal programs.
“You know in some of the dispensaries, some of the people helping patients were not experts in any way, shape or form,” Vickers said. “They were in some cases literally just bud tenders whose only expertise was they got high the night before so we really had a concern that we wanted to keep it in the medical professional route throughout the process.”
According to data from the Utah Department