Proposed legislation would limit medical marijuana to “non-combustible” only


JACKSON, Mississippi (WLBT) – While many state lawmakers grapple with legalizing the amount patients would be allowed under proposed medical marijuana, a senator from southern Mississippi wants to ban joints altogether.

Senator Angela Harris introduces what she says is a legitimate medical marijuana bill that would ban combustible products and make non-combustible products more difficult to obtain.

“My bill is safer and more of a real medical program,” she said. “It protects children because it requires the involvement of a pharmacist.”

The bill would also place restrictions on the amount of marijuana a patient could be given, and would require a pharmacist to dispense amounts based on doctors’ recommendations.

“The doctor will enter (the amount) into a system where it can be tracked and tracked,” she said. “When a patient obtains their card, they will also be registered with the health service. They can go to a specialty pharmacy, and the pharmacist can go under that person’s name and see what kind of dosage is recommended.

“A doctor gives you a dose. If you are not (a) terminal (patient), and you have more than what is allowed, you may lose your license.

Although the type of weed you smoke is banned, she said patients can still get marijuana in other forms, such as liquids, pills, patches, lotions, nebulizers and suppositories. .

Hill, who represents Pearl River County and Marion Counties, said she was bringing the bill forward, in part based on discussions she had had with voters.

“When they voted for it, they didn’t realize that people had to come in and buy a bag of weed,” she said. “They thought they were voting for some sort of medicinal form of marijuana.”

In November 2020, nearly 75% of voters in the state approved Initiative 65, which legalized marijuana for medical purposes. The measure was challenged and ultimately overturned by the Mississippi Supreme Court.

Hill said she spoke at many civic club meetings, where people approached her about the ballot initiative.

“When they saw the drugs they thought it was some kind of medical form of marijuana,” she said. “That’s what I’ve been told everywhere, in meetings across the state… If you look at medicine, usually something you smoke is not medicine.”

Hill is also introducing the measure after examining what happened after medical marijuana was legalized in Oklahoma.

Oklahoma voters approved medical cannabis in 2018. By law, patients can legally have up to three ounces of the herb in public and up to eight ounces at home, Marijuana Moment reported. The law, which is part of the state’s constitution, also sets out the requirements for producers and sellers.

“Do a simple Google search on what’s going on in Oklahoma and you’ll find lots of news on what’s going on. There are so many licenses that the regulators cannot keep up with.

She also says there are cases of the sale of tainted marijuana, as well as gangs and cartels involved in the sale and production of the product.

According to a November 2021 article in Politico, the Sooner State places no limit on the number of business licenses that can be granted. At the time, over 9,000 licenses had been issued.

Meanwhile, Politico said law enforcement officials on site say the law’s residency requirements for marijuana businesses are easy to bypass, and that some companies have links to “international criminal syndicates. with roots in China, Mexico – and even Bulgaria ”.

We contacted the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority, the agency that oversees the state’s after-hours clinical cannabis program, but received no response.

Hill said his bill would limit licensing for producers and give universities the first right of refusal.

“If the universities decide to take it on, they could use that money to do research, supplement operating expenses, supplement tuition fees,” she said.

Producers would also have to meet other requirements, such as insurance and working capital.

“It’s not about having access,” she said. “It’s the method and the unintended consequences that concern me. I don’t want people to get substandard product and (I don’t want the situation) to get so out of hand that we can’t maintain quality control.

Rep. Lee Yancey responded to some of Hill’s concerns when he dismissed Gov. Tate Reeves’ concerns over the medical marijuana bill.

Yancey told WLBT that the bill the legislature allegedly introduced in a special session last year and plans to re-introduce this year would have addressed many of the concerns raised by Hill and Governor Reeves.

Meanwhile, Yancey, who spoke to us prior to our interview with Hill, said comparisons to the Oklahoma program and the legislation currently being drafted are incorrect, such as the provisions for quality control.

Mississippi’s 2022 legislative session begins Tuesday at the Mississippi State Capitol.

Courtney Ann Jackson contributed to this story.

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