Deadlines Set in “Challenge to Form” of Miss. Medical Marijuana Ballot Measure

The Mississippi Supreme Court said on Tuesday that it will consider whether the ballot measure to legalize medical marijuana, which was approved by almost 74 percent of Mississippi voters, is valid. The challenge claimed that Mississippi state law was not followed in gathering the signatures required to place the ballot initiative before voters.  The Associated Press reported deadlines were set by the court Tuesday.

The city’s emergency petition, filed by Mayor Mary Hawkins Butler in late October, reportedly said it was a “challenge to form,” and not related to the topic of the ballot measure. The error was purportedly that the number of electors from at least one congressional district was more than one-fifth of the total signatures. According to Marijuana Moment, however, the number of congressional districts in Mississippi has been reduced from five to four since the law requiring that percentage was enacted, making adherence to this law impossible. 

The article reported that the court said it was not deciding on whether it would hear the case until after November 3. Under the initiative, patients with certain medical issues would be able to legally obtain marijuana with a doctor’s recommendation. The initiative includes 22 qualifying conditions and individuals would be allowed to possess 2.5 ounces of marijuana each 14-day period. Mississippians for Compassionate Care ran the initiative and faced issues getting it onto the ballot, including a cease and desist letter issued by the Trump campaign against the advocates claiming they were misrepresenting the President’s position. 

If the challenge to the measure is not successful, Mississippi will join 33 other states which have legalized marijuana for medical uses. Fifteen states have chosen to legalize marijuana for recreational uses, including four states which made the decision in ballot measures this year.