Legislative Medical Marijuana Program Dead Dead
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On Monday, March 29, 2021, legislative conferees representing
the Mississippi House of Representatives and the Mississippi Senate
filed a Conference Report for House Bill 119, legislation that had
been amended by the Senate to include an alternate Medical
Marijuana program (Amendment No. 1). The conferees agreed to
remove the amendment, thereby returning the legislation to its
original purpose: the reenactment of Harper Grace’s Law
– authorizing the research and dispensing of CBD oil
for medical purposes.
WHAT IT MEANS.
This action by the six legislative conferees removes the
alternate Medical Marijuana program from consideration, for now.
The next step in the legislative process is for both houses to vote
on the H.B. 119 Conference Report. March 31 is the deadline
for each chamber to either approve the report or recommit it for
further consideration. An effort by either house to amend the
conference report (outside of the conference committee process) or
introduce a new bill would require a two-thirds vote in each
chamber to suspend legislative rules. Therefore, while these
developments do not necessarily amount to the final legislative
chapter for an alternate Medical Marijuana program (proverbially
said to occur when a measure is dead dead dead) an
alternative program, at this point in time, is highly unlikely.
Should these developments hold, all eyes will be on the
Mississippi Supreme Court, which is scheduled to entertain oral
argument on April 14, 2021, on a direct challenge to Initiative 65,
the Medical Marijuana measure approved by nearly 74% of those
voting on the initiative last November.
As reported previously, the Legislature’s actions do not
affect the current deadlines imposed by Initiative 65, which
requires the Mississippi State Department of Health to adopt final
rules and regulations to govern the program no later than July 1,
2021, and for the agency to begin issuing licenses and Medical
Marijuana identification cards for patients no later than August 15
of this year.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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