Medical Marijuana Update

Mississippians are still waiting on that legislative special session to get medical marijuana approved, Nebraska activists have begun signature gathering for a linked pair of medical marijuana initiatives, and more.

Mississippi

Mississippi Governor Says Medical Marijuana Bill Needs Changes Before He Will Call a Special Session. Gov. Tate Reeves (R) said last Wednesday he will call a special session to get a medical marijuana bill passed "sooner rather than later," but said there are still details to be worked out and that a special session was likely weeks away, instead of this week as lawmakers had requested. "There is no update on exactly when, but I do anticipate we are going to have one sooner rather than later," Reeves said. "We are a long way towards getting a final agreement, but not all the way there yet," Reeves said. "At this point it's just a matter of working out the final details... things such as funding, an appropriation bill, what that would look like." The legislature is moving to implement the will of state voters as expressed in the 2020 elections, where a medical marijuana initiative was approved only to be overturned by the state Supreme Court on technical grounds.

Nebraska

Nebraska Advocates Launch Signature Drive for Medical Marijuana Ballot Measures. Activists organized as Nebraska Medical Marijuana on Friday rolled out a pair of medical marijuana initiatives, with signature gathering set to begin Saturday. Supporters will have until next July to gather the requisite number of signatures to qualify for the 2022 ballot. The effort comes after the Republican-led legislature has repeatedly blocked medical marijuana, and after the state Supreme Court blocked a medical marijuana initiative from the 2020 ballot even though it had met signature requirements. The court held that initiative violated the state's one-topic rule for initiatives. This time, activists have split the proposal into two initiatives -- the Medical Cannabis Patient Protection Act, which would protect patients and caregivers from prosecution, and the Medical Cannabis Regulation Act, which would set up a state regulatory system.

South Dakota

South Dakota Legislative Medical Marijuana Subcommittee Votes to Deny Will of Voters, Ban Patient Home Grows. The legislature's medical marijuana subcommittee voted 6-4 last Wednesday to make home marijuana cultivation by patients illegal. The voter approved medical marijuana initiative passed last November explicitly allowed for patient home cultivation, but lawmakers on the panel voted to overturn that part of the initiative in an effort initiated by state Rep. Fred Deutsch (R-Brookings). The subcommittee's vote is not final; its recommendations will now be taken up by the legislature's marijuana study committee.

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