Legal weed in Mississippi?

Published 4:01 pm Friday, April 10, 2015

Could Mississippi be the next state to legalize marijuana?

If Mississippi for Cannabis, a group that filed a petition with the Secretary of State’s office in September to get the issue on the 2016 general election ballot, has its way then the answer is yes.

The group has been working to get enough signatures for the ballot measure and a Florida man last week pledged cash to help the cause.  According to the Associated Press, Jeremy Bufford, president of Medical Marijuana United, says he will pay $1 per certified signature collected or $2 per certified signature in some areas where organizers are finding the challenge of collecting signatures particularly difficult.

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“I was desperate for this,” Kelly Jacobs of DeSoto County, who initiated the legalization push known as Ballot Initiative 48, said of Bufford’s involvement. “So many people are afraid to sign because they’re suspicious, and this will provide a real incentive for those collecting signatures to work hard to gather them.”

“Jacobs and other supporters of the Mississippi initiative want to legalize it for adults, regulating it the same as alcohol and imposing a 7 percent sales tax,” the AP reported. “The proposal also would legalize growing industrial hemp, allowing farmers to grow it under the purview of state Department of Agriculture testing for THC levels.”

Considering several Mississippi counties are still dry, we doubt a ballot initiative to legalize marijuana would pass in the heart of the Bible Belt. The rest of the nation seems to be warming to the idea, though. According to Pew Research, 52 percent of Americans support legalization.

The key stat that may eventually lead to legalization in many states (only four have legalized weed so far) is that 69 percent of Americans believe alcohol is more harmful to a person’s health than marijuana, according to Pew.

So we may soon see several states attempt to join the legalization club, but we doubt Mississippi will be one of them.

“If it gets on the ballot, I will be one of those voting no,” former Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics Director Marshall Fisher told the Clarion-Ledger newspaper. “I’m adamantly opposed to it. It would be a very bad move for our society.”

According to Fisher, for every dollar gained from legal marijuana, $10 will be spent on drug rehab. Fisher’s logic is that many drug addicts first start with marijuana.

In matters like these, erring on the side of caution is usually prudent. That means saying “no” to legal marijuana in Mississippi.