The Mississippi Medical Cannabis Act (SB 2095) now sits on Governor Tate Reeves' desk. If signed into law, it would create a medical marijuana program that – after residency requirements expire at the end of the year – would allow out-of-state residents and even noncitizens to own cultivation and processing operations. A vocal opponent of the bill, Republican State Senator Angela Hill, argues that the loophole invites foreign criminals to grow marijuana in the state.
Rob Chambers is vice president of policy and legislative affairs at the Mississippi-based American Family Association.
"It's basically a combustible marijuana legislation in the name of health," he tells AFN. "So … the legislature has voted for a bill that says smoking is good for you; smoking is healthy. Now, no one in their right mind believes that smoking is good for you."
Chambers explains the Republican-controlled legislature voted down a commonsense amendment to SB 2095. "[It said] that no state legislator nor their family shall financially benefit from the marijuana business. That bill was defeated by 68-41."
The AFA spokesman also points out that a recent study shows that smoking marijuana significantly increases a person's chances to contract COVID. "So, it's going to create a health burden on the state – and it's going to cause a nightmare for the enforcement agencies," he adds.
The ultimate result, Chambers warns, will be "a landscape … where marijuana stores are dotted up and down Mainstreet U.S.A. in Mississippi."
SB 2095 passed overwhelmingly in both chambers earlier this month: 46-5 in the Senate, and 105-14 in the House.
Editor's Note: The American Family Association is the parent organization of the American Family News Network, which operates AFN.net.