Local CBD sellers give their take on Medical Marijuana Bill

Published 8:30 am Friday, January 21, 2022

As Mississippi moves full-speed ahead on Senate Bill 2095, also known as the Mississippi Medical Cannabis Act, Oxford CBD oil sellers chime in on the legislative proceedings.

On Wednesday, the Mississippi state house voted 104-14 to pass a bill to create a medical marijuana program. The bill has been sent back to the state Senate where Mississippians wait to see whether senators will concur with the bill as it is. 

The current medical marijuana bill is a different legislation than Initiative 65 that a large number of Mississippi voters approved of in November 2020. The initiative was supposed to have created a program by the middle of 2021, but it was struck down by the State Supreme Court who ruled the ballot process as outdated.

The ruling also left Mississippi without a way for people to petition to put issues in front of voters. After the court ruling, legislative leaders appointed a committee to write a medical marijuana bill.

State Governor Tate Reeves has been vocal about his issues with medical marijuana, calling the initial proposal “recreational.” Reeves has proposed lowering the amount of marijuana to 2.8 grams compared to the 5 grams proposed in Initiative 65.

As the bill passed through the State Senate, the marijuana amount was changed to where a person with a prescription could obtain up to 3.5 grams per day, seven days a week. That was once again lowered in the State House to 3 grams, which was closer to Reeves’ proposed amount.

Your CBD Store owner Glynis Stitts said although she may agree with Reeves and applauds him for making a few revisions to the bill, Reeves obviously considers the substance to be a drug and refuses to further educate himself.

“All of his arguing points come from fearful ignorance rather than data we have from almost two decades of legislation,” said Stitts. “We do not judge oranges on their vitamin C content and we don’t quarrel over pharmaceutical distribution by weight. We should take the plant as a whole into consideration by creating a legal market for it.”

The medical marijuana program is designed for people with debilitating medical conditions such as cancer, sickle cell disease, glaucoma or dementia. According to Stitts, controlling the dosage amount isn’t feasible because a patient’s condition could worsen at any time which would call for a higher dosage of medical marijuana.

” … he is trying to be the Governor and Doctor by controlling the amount one can get instead of allowing the doctor to do their job,” she said. “If a doctor over-prescribed a medication his or her license is at stake and professional doctors take their oath seriously and don’t risk that chance.”

Although the current bill is much lower than what Mississippians and state senators proposed, it is a good midpoint, said Tony Barragan, owner of Hemp Ville CBD.

“I think three [grams] is a great start,” said Barragan. “I think it’s a good mid-point for everyone, including the Governor, and I think it’s a great point to learn. I think [Representative Lee] Yancey said it best when he said, ‘Let us let science meet with politics.’ I couldn’t agree more. I think we need to let this thing take its course and if we find that there’s patients that see it’s not enough cannabis, we can address it in different ways.”

Another change saw the removal of the state Department of Agriculture from any role in operating the medical marijuana program at Agriculture Commissioner Andy Gipson’s request. 

Barragan said the agriculture department would’ve been a great asset due to their experience with a state plan for the Mississippi Hemp Cultivation Act, which was signed into law on June 29, 2020.  This act legalized the cultivation of hemp under a state plan to be created and implemented by the Commissioner of Agriculture and Commerce.

“I think it’s a great opportunity to create new jobs for the departments that will be handling this,” he said. “I feel for the burden the department of health is going to take on, but it’s going to create jobs for people who don’t have any right now.”

Now Stitts, Barragan and the entire state of Mississippi await the final decision as the senate holds their hopes and expectations and hopes in their hands. Some back and forth from local politicians will be expected, but they both feel that the marijuana bill will pass. In the end, this bill is what Mississippians voted for.

“I think this is a great, great, great bill for our patients, for our community, for our legislator and for Mississippi in its entirety,” said Barragan. “I commend everyone that has put in all of the work and all of the effort to pass such a great bill.”