Mississippi lawmakers drafting medical marijuana measure

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A Mississippi Senate committee is close to finishing draft legislation to legalize medical marijuana, two months after the state’s highest court struck down a voter-approved, business-friendly bill, Lt. Gov. Delbert Hosemann said.

The development leaves open the possibility that Gov. Tate Reeves could call a special session later this summer to address the issue, according to WAPT-TV in Jackson and other media.

The governor might feel pressure to do so after voters in the Deep South state approved MMJ legalization by an overwhelming margin at the ballot box in November.

The measure, however, isn’t expected to be nearly as pro-business as the voter-approved version. Full details of the potential Senate bill weren’t disclosed.

The 2021 MJBizFactbook had projected that a medical marijuana program built on the Mississippi ballot referendum would generate $265 million in sales in the first full year and $800 million annually by the fourth year.

Hosemann indicated that the Senate bill will include taxes on MMJ sales as well as an opt-out provision for cities and counties, according to WAPT.

The lieutenant governor noted during an address at the Neshoba County Fair that three legislative committees already have held hearings this summer on the issue.