The 2014 midterm election marked monumental success for the movement to end marijuana prohibition in the United States with two more states, one district and one territory approving legalization measures. Before and since then, initiatives have been mobilizing in many more states. Now, an effort in Mississippi is joining the full legalization movement.
The only federally approved marijuana farm in the country, providing testable product for the few lucky enough to be granted research access, is operated by the green thumbs at the University of Mississippi, and has been since 1968. Mississippi is also one of 18 states where personal marijuana possession is decriminalized, and punishable by a civil fine rather than jail time. As of this year, certain high CBD, low THC forms of medical marijuana have also been legalized for patients suffering from qualifying, debilitating medical conditions. It seems as though total legalization may be the next step for the Magnolia State.
At the beginning of December, language for the legalization measure was registered with the secretary of state. In order to ensure the measure makes it onto the 2016 ballot, the organizers must collect a minimum of 107,000 signatures from Mississippi residents, and this must be completed by October 2015.
One of the initiative organizers, Kelly Jacobs, explained her logic behind the measure that would regulate marijuana similarly to alcohol, in an interview with the Jackson Free Press,
“With alcohol, nobody’s going to ask you when you go to the store how much beer you’re buying and what you’re going to do with it because it’s none of their business. Just like if you’re going to have a wine cellar, nobody’s going to ask you how much you’re going to put in there.”
The language used in this amendment legalizes, regulates and taxes the retail sale of cannabis to adults aged 21 years and older. With this initiative, recreational cultivators would be permitted to have up to nine plants. Anyone growing more than nine plants will qualify as a cannabis farmer, a position that comes with a $25 annual fee which is payable to the local city or county. Retail dispensaries will be required to pay a fair $1,000 for an operating license.
It will be interesting to see if Mississippi will be added to the list of states with legalization measures on the 2016 ballot.
photo credit: ground speak