The Mississippi Senate approved an alternative legislation for a medical marijuana program during Friday after failing to gain the required three-fifths majority of votes earlier on Thursday.
The bill had initially failed to pass on Thursday evening, falling one vote short of passing through the Senate, with the final vote tally resulting in 30 votes in favor and 21 in opposition. During the second attempt at passing, some of the senators present for the first vote were absent due to the vote being conducted late at 1:15 AM.
In this second round of votes, 30 voted in favor of the bill with 19 in opposition.
Among those who were absent from the second vote, Senators Jennifer Branning (R) and Tammy Witherspoon (D) both had voted against the bill during the first vote, while Senator Lydia Chassaniol (R) had voted in favor of the bill. Replacing her vote during the second round was senator Benjamin Shuber (R), who was absent from the first round of voting.
Changes to Mississippi’s Medical Marijuana Initiative
The purpose of Bill 2765 is to tax medical marijuana at a 4% excise at cultivation, and a 7% sales tax paid for by the patient, which is down from the original 10% that was proposed by Mississippi’s voter medical cannabis legalization initiative which was passed last November.
Furthermore, licensing fees for growers and dispensaries have been cut, from $100,000 for growers and $20,000 for dispensaries to $15,000 and $5,000 respectively.
What’s Next for Cannabis Legalization in Mississippi?
As Bill 2765 has passed the Senate it will go to the House, where its future remains uncertain.
While this bill passed the Senate vote last week, a request by the city of Madison to the Mississippi Supreme Court was made roughly four months ago to overrule the medical marijuana legalization initiative.
The governor of Mississippi has also been a vocal critic of the initiative, claiming that the “most liberal weed rules” being proposed by the initiative are being pushed forward by “stoners”.
The Weed Blog will continue to provide updates to this story.
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