Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Sid Salter: Voters May Face a Different Type of Marijuana Legalization Effort in 2020

As of this year, nine states and the District of Columbia – including Alaska, California, Colorado, Massachusetts, Maine, Nevada, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington – have legalized the possession and recreational use of marijuana. Those same nine states plus 22 more have legalized the use of medical marijuana – including Arkansas, Florida, and Louisiana – in variable amounts under variable conditions.

Other states, like Alabama and Mississippi, have laws on the books permitting the use of medical marijuana for severe epileptic conditions, but the drug remains practically and legally unobtainable due to red tape, conflicting state and federal laws, and an abundance of caution from healthcare professionals and law enforcement agencies.

But conservative Republican Gov. Phil Bryant signed Mississippi’s very narrow current medical marijuana bill into law in 2014, one that drew support from some of the state’s most conservative lawmakers. In signing the law, Bryant told Jackson TV station WAPT:

“The bill I signed into law will help children who suffer from severe seizure disorders. Throughout the legislative process, I insisted on the tightest controls and regulations for this measure, and I have been assured by the Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics that CBD oil (cannabinol) is not an intoxicant. The outcome is a bill that allows this substance to be used therapeutically, as is the case for other controlled prescription medication.”

Still, the parents of children that 2014 law (and a subsequent amendment) still wait today for a clear path to legally buy cannabis oil for their epileptic children. Against that backdrop, political forces who simply wanted to legalize cannabis or hemp in Mississippi for all purposes took their shots in failed initiative-and-referendum efforts. Both referendum efforts failed in 2016to garner sufficient signatures to trigger voter referendums.

Wide-open marijuana legalization efforts in Mississippi remain political efforts that are dead-on-arrival with the voters in a state that still has its significant number of cities and counties that are “dry” on beer and light wine or on alcoholic beverages.

Into that scenario enters the Medical Marijuana 2020 effort in Mississippi. Not in all my years has a medical marijuana legalization effort been this well-organized, focused, or financed. The group proposes to “make medical marijuana available to Mississippians who have debilitating medical conditions.”

Who would qualify as having a “debilitating condition” under the proposed law? According to the group: “Mississippians who have the following debilitating medical conditions would qualify for medical marijuana - cancer, epilepsy and other seizures, Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease, multiple sclerosis, post-traumatic stress disorder, HIV, AIDS, chronic pain, ALS, glaucoma, Crohn’s disease, sickle-cell anemia, autism with aggressive or self-injurious behavior, spinal cord injuries, and similar diseases.”

Who would decide who can get medical marijuana? “Physicians will have the option to certify the use of medical marijuana as part of a treatment after examining the patient. With a licensed physician’s certification, a patient would obtain an identification card from the Mississippi Department of Health and medical marijuana from a regulated treatment center, which will be the only place medical marijuana would be available.”

After enduring cancer and an aggressive chemotherapy regimen last year that brought with it months of constant nausea and other maladies, my mind is open to hearing the group out. I’m not quite ready to support this effort, but neither am I ready to shout it down.

Review the medical marijuana group’s arguments at and judge for yourself whether they make their case. Mississippians aren’t likely to approve any ballot measure that makes marijuana legal for recreational purposes - and this isn’t such a law.

But will Mississippians clear roadblocks to providing relief for those suffering with chronic diseases, especially children? Maybe so.

Sid Salter is a syndicated columnist. Contact him at

Kingfish note: Is Sid becoming a sissy? 


Anonymous said...

Both of my boys have seizures and I have an elderly parent who suffers from glaucoma. Seizures are one of the most horrific things to witness and they have been stopped by a combination of THC and CBD oil which we purchase from another state. As I have said on other posts, this is a tiny eye dropper of OIL, it is NOT standard weed that comes in a baggie that is smoked. People have got to stop thinking of medical marijuana as such.
You are correct in that the red tape to purchase this is unbelievable. However, if the legalization of this oil makes my two boys productive citizens instead of dependent on society, why is it not legal?

Anonymous said...

8:51. Because it goes against everything my ole preacher said about life. That's why.

In all seriousness, it's going to take a Federal Mandate for this to change here, even for medicinal purposes.

Anonymous said...

Pretty impressive steering committee.

Anonymous said...

@8:51 it’s not legal because the right corporations haven’t donated to or lobbied the right politicians. . . Yet. Our elected officials work for big business. Not the little guy.

Anonymous said...

Big, BIG Corporates behind the push. Same folks who want to punish the 1% are the exact same folks who want to line the corporates pockets for marijuana, medical or otherwise. Plus the black market never goes away.

Anonymous said...

Most everyone knows someone who could benefit from medical marijuana. The campaign is run by professionals and it'll get more than 60%. Funny how the Gov hasn't said a word since he got killed on Facebook for opposing it on day one.

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, lobbyists have bought our politicians and the pharmaceutical industry has more money than anyone outside defense. Will Mississippi citizens be willing to go against the orders of their elected officials? I doubt it.

Anonymous said...

The effort is well-intended, but it's bullshit to put so many limiting measures in place. Severe debilitating conditions? Cannabis is good for minor ailments, too. Why must you be on death's door to benefit?

Second, why not allow private industry to thrive here, instead of putting all control and means of production in government hands? It makes no sense. We should just copy what has been successful in other states, and at least have as much freedom as Oklahomans will soon have.

Kingfish said...

I've known people who were suffering from cancer and the side effects of chemo as well as other treatments. One friend did everything doctor told him and followed the prescriptions to the letter. pain and nausea would be so overwhelming he couldn't get off the floor for a longtime. Finally tried you know what when those attacks would hit and within a few minutes he would be functional again. But this is Mississippi.

Anonymous said...

Didn't Governor Bryant tweet something a few weeks ago that he didn't see the need because we have so many good pharmaceutical companies looking after these patients already?

The same companies that have a giant swath of our population hooked on opioids.

Anonymous said...

This will turn out just like the efforts of Medicaid to transition to managed care. Big medical donors opposed it (Hospitals and Pharma). Then they figured out how to make money on in and all of a sudden it passed easily.

Then Medicaid didn't select the managed care company owned by the hospitals which many found hilarious. Our esteemed GOP conservative officials of course cried foul, forced out the Medicaid director and put a puppet in charge who is still trying to figure out how to steer the business back to the company that bought off all the legislators in the first place.

All that to say, medical pot will pass when the big medical donors are absolutely sure they will be the ones profiting from it. And not a day sooner.

Check the campaign finance reports of people like Wiggins. They will be the ones waiting by the phone to hear if this will be allowed or not. I only wish this was an election year initiative so they would have to take a stand on it.

Anonymous said...

There is ZERO medical evidence that smoking any tobacco product has a health benefit. That includes POT.

Anonymous said...

Most people support this. If they're able to get the signatures and put it on the ballot, it will pass.

Anonymous said...

There's only one way around the entrenched distrust of anything progressive in the state of Mississippi. Buy the legislature. Don't talk. Just buy them.

Anonymous said...

fucking legalize it, it would make my job of being a cop to a bunch of adult children all the easier.

Anonymous said...

12:34. Many ways to use MJ, Hemp oil for medical purposes other than smoking.

Anonymous said...

LOL at the moron that thinks pot is a tobacco product. Crack a book someday, guy!

Anonymous said...

The only reason there is no medical evidence is because that bullshit they are growing at OM is worthless. Remember it's the only stuff researchers were allowed to use for testing in the US.

Anonymous said...

Phil Bryant at 12:34, nice post.

Anonymous said...

If we continue down the path of legalizing drugs, how are the cops gonna get more cars?

Anonymous said...

marijuana for medical use will never happen in ms cause the legislature is bought and paid for by big pharmasuitcal companies

Anonymous said...

In the 1920s this country learned (the hard way ) that prohibition does not work. It took a Mississippi until 1966 fo figure it out, mostly because the bootleggers and Baptist preachers fought it. Mississippi will stay Dead last on this issue too because the pharmaceutical companies and Baptist preachers will fight it.

Anonymous said...

5:11 pm You are right about who lobbies against legalized marijuana for medical use but it's pharmaceutical.

But, it's also a problem of ignorance as the far right has been very successful in creating fears that are irrational and based on nonsense.

Anonymous said...

October 18, 2018 at 6:42 AM = Beats the same dead horse AGAIN

Anonymous said...

The Baptist Preachers always know what is best for Mississippi.

Anonymous said...

"Wide-open marijuana legalization efforts in Mississippi remain political efforts that are dead-on-arrival with the voters"

It has NEVER been given to voters, always "dies in committee"

Put complete legalization on the ballot and watch how fast it passes

Thile said...

Bloomberg: Stoned Driver Crash Risk Grows as Legal Pot Spreads in the U.S.

As the push to legalize marijuana gains momentum, so is evidence that more permissive policies on the drug are putting motorists at risk.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety found, in a study to be released on Thursday, that traffic accidents are rising in states that have legalized recreational marijuana. That followed stark warnings from the National Transportation Safety Board, which on Tuesday issued several recommendations to combat drug-impaired driving.

“The last thing in the world that we want is to introduce another legal substance where we may be adding to that toll and to the carnage on our highways,” said David Harkey, president of the Insurance Institute. “With marijuana impairment, we’re just now starting to understand what we don’t know.”

Anonymous said...

If incidents of impaired driving mean we can't allow adults to have personal freedoms, then let's ban alcohol. Prohibition works so well.

Anonymous said...

UPI Health News: Study shows higher rate of stroke among pot smokers

The risk for any stroke could increase by 15 percent and it could jump 29 percent for an ischemic stroke -- the most common kind, said lead investigator Dr. Krupa Patel. She is a research physician at Avalon University School of Medicine in Willemstad, Curacao.

Patel cautioned that the study can't prove that using marijuana causes strokes, only that the two are associated.

"We can't establish causation, but what we can say is that recreational marijuana users are at higher risk in terms of stroke," she said.

In addition, the researchers don't know if the risk is tied to smoking marijuana or ingesting it in other ways, and whether it depends on the amount of the drug used or if it is due to other psychoactive ingredients mixed in with the marijuana.

Anonymous said...

That's a pretty terrible study if they don't even KNOW whether those studied also use tobacco. And it's very common for people to mix tobacco and pot, especially in Europe.

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Trollfest '07 was such a success that Jackson Jambalaya will once again host Trollfest '09. Catch this great event which will leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Othor Cain and his band, The Black Power Structure headline the night while Sonjay Poontang returns for an encore performance. Former Frank Melton bodyguard Marcus Wright makes his premier appearance at Trollfest singing "I'm a Sweet Transvestite" from "The Rocky Horror Picture Show." Kamikaze will sing his new hit, “How I sold out to da Man.” Robbie Bell again performs: “Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be Bells” and “Any friend of Ed Peters is a friend of mine”. After the show, Ms. Bell will autograph copies of her mug shot photos. In a salute to “Dancing with the Stars”, Ms. Bell and Hinds County District Attorney Robert Smith will dance the Wango Tango.

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In the spirit of helping those who are less fortunate, Trollfest '09 adopts a cause for which a portion of the proceeds and donations will be donated: Keeping Frank Melton in his home. The “Keep Frank Melton From Being Homeless” booth will sell chances for five dollars to pin the tail on the jackass. John Reeves has graciously volunteered to be the jackass for this honorable excursion into saving Frank's ass. What's an ass between two friends after all? If Mr. Reeves is unable to um, perform, Speaker Billy McCoy has also volunteered as when the word “jackass” was mentioned he immediately ran as fast as he could to sign up.

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If you get tired come relax at the Fox News Tent. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both will entitle you to free drinks.Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required, just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '07 is for EVERYONE!!!

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