Alternative marijuana initiative passes the House

House Concurrent Resolution 39 has passed the Mississippi House of Representatives.

The concurrent resolution proposes to create a new article of the Mississippi Constitution as a legislative alternative to Ballot Initiative No. 65 regarding medical marijuana.

HCR 39 passed 71-49.

Speaker of the House Philip Gunn issued the following statement regarding the passage of HCR 39:

“The legislative alternative gives people who are in favor of medical marijuana a responsible pathway to having it. The alternative allows the public to vote for medical marijuana without legalizing recreational marijuana. Anyone who has read the proposed initiative 65 and listened to the debate on the House floor can see that there are tremendous problems with the initiative. It goes way beyond what it has been represented to be and comes extremely close to legalizing recreational marijuana. It does not allow the tax revenue from marijuana sales to be used by the State. It essentially exempts the sale of marijuana from local zoning ordinances. It totally removes the taxing and appropriation authority from the legislative branch and gives it to an executive branch, which is a complete violation of the separation of powers. Ultimately, it is not what most people mean when they say that they are for medical marijuana. Initiative 65 is not good public policy. The alternative passed by the House gives Mississippians the opportunity to vote for a legitimate, reasonable medical marijuana program that would meet the needs of those who could benefit from the program.”

HCR 39 states:

“A CONCURRENT RESOLUTION PROPOSING TO CREATE NEW ARTICLE 16, SECTION 290 OF THE MISSISSIPPI CONSTITUTION OF 1890, OFFERED BY THE MISSISSIPPI LEGISLATURE AS AN ALTERNATIVE TO INITIATIVE MEASURE NO. 65, TO ESTABLISH A PROGRAM TO ALLOW THE MEDICAL USE OF MARIJUANA PRODUCTS BY QUALIFIED PERSONS WITH DEBILITATING MEDICAL CONDITIONS; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.”

Related story: State Board of Health responds to medical marijuana initiative