Reeves: Put tighter limits on medical marijuana proposal

Published 3:49 pm Tuesday, November 2, 2021

Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves says he wants legislators to make more changes in a proposal to create a medical marijuana program in the state.

“If we’re going to have a medical marijuana program, we need to get it done right,” said Reeves during a press conference. “I think getting it done right is more important than getting it done quick.”

The Republican said at a news conference Monday that he wants tighter limits on the amount of marijuana people could buy and he wants to reduce the content of THC, the compound that produces a high, but has not disclosed an acceptable level.

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“Clearly the levels that are in the current drafts of the bill that have been floating around are higher than I am comfortable with,” he said, according to a news station. 

Reeves said he wants a “true medical marijuana program, with strict rules in place,” not a program that would allow recreational use of the drug.

Hempville CBD owner Tony Barragan said Reeves’ repeated claims that the marijuana proposal is recreational is dismissive to Mississippians who suffer from chronic pain and illness and reduces them to recreational marijuana users.

“[Reeves] stating that he does not want a recreational marijuana program is totally understandable, but that’s not what this is,” said Barragan. “A lot of people are not going to qualify for medical marijuana cards because physicians are going to decide whether their condition is enough to be considered.”

Lowering THC levels could also negatively affect the effectiveness on patients who use CBD for treatments.

“I’ve seen patients desperately try to get relief from my products which have almost no THC in them,” said Barragan. “Say they lost a limb in war. These people deal with excruciating pain and they don’t want to take opiates. It will really take away from their pain relief if they manipulate the THC percentage.”

Barragan hopes the restrictions on the proposals are reasonable and that the governor and his administration can work with advocates for the medical marijuana proposal.

In November 2020, Mississippi voters approved an initiative to create a medical marijuana program. State Supreme Court justices overturned the initiative in May, ruling that Mississippi’s initiative process is outdated and unworkable.

House and Senate negotiators have been working to create a program since then. After releasing an initial proposal weeks ago, they made changes on taxes and on the size of growing facilities that would be allowed.

Reeves has said he could call legislators into a special session if he and the negotiators can agree on a plan. The next regular session begins in January.