Group seeks ballot initiative to legalize marijuana in MS

Jimmie E. Gates

A group has filed a petition seeking a ballot initiative to legalize marijuana in Mississippi.

The group, Mississippi for Cannabis, is hoping to place an initiative on the November 2016 election ballot.

The group filed the petition Monday with the Secretary of State’s satellite office in Hernando, says petition organizer Kelly Jacobs. It’s the initial process in the ballot process.

“Now we are waiting for official approval from the Mississippi Secretary of State, and the Attorney General which will include a ballot initiative number and the official format for the collection of signatures,” said Jacobs.”The Mississippi Legislature also has the option to adopt our ballot initiative, but that is unlikely.”

Secretary of State spokeswoman Pamela Weaver confirmed today that the peition has been filed.

If the Secretary of State’s office and attorney general’s office approve the petition, it would be then up to petition organizers to collect the approximately 110,000 signatures needed within 12 months to get the petition on the ballot. Voters would then have to approve the measure for it to become law.

Jacobs said the ballot initiative proposal would legalize cannabis for adults to own as much as they wish, to use as they wish, just like alcohol or cigarettes. However, it must be kept from minors.

“We want to legalize marijuana and decriminalize it,” Jacobs said. “It’s an adult discussion we should be having.”
Also, she said it would allow adults to raise cannabis, but no more than nine plants for their personal, private use, and they can gift and barter their cannabis with no tax charged.

Under the proposal, city and county governments would collect a fee of $25.00 or more, for a residence, if a cannabis or hemp farm is established in their territory, which is defined as an adult growing 10 or more cannabis plants.

The size of the farm may determine a higher locality fee. A 10 percent tax would go to schools.

During this year’s Neshoba County Fair, conservative Circuit Judge Marcus Gordon of Decatur predicted marijuana would be legalized in Mississippi within a decade although he would be opposed to it.

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