Is Weed Legal in Mississippi?
The answer to the question, “is weed legal in Mississippi” is, no. It is not legal for medical or recreational use at all. The issue has a long legislative history, some of which has even gone to the state Supreme Court, none of which has been successful.
Still, it has been decriminalized when it comes to penalties. For cannabis possession over 30 grams or one ounce, the penalty is a $100 to $250 fine for a first offense. Subsequent offenses will carry larger penalties.
Legislation History of Marijuana in Mississippi
The legislative history of marijuana in Mississippi began in 2014, with a law known as Harper Grace’s Law. The law was advocating for medical marijuana for patients with debilitating epilepsy. The law would allow for patients to possess CBD oil with at least 15 percent CBD and a THC cap of 0.5 percent.
By 2020, 22 more conditions would be approved under Initiative 65 that would legalize cannabis or weed for medical purposes. This would provide for the possession and consumption of cannabis and cannabis-related products for patients and their caregivers.
By August 2021, the Mississippi Department of Health would launch a plan to provide medical marijuana cards and licenses for dispensaries to medical marijuana patients. Initiative 65A was born, where health care practitioners would have a say in the implementation of medical marijuana cards.
But Initiative 65A would not would wind up in the Supreme Court. Even though over 70 percent of the voters were in favor of it, the Supreme Court said no. This ruling came as the result of a constitutional violation where the Mississippi Constitution required signatures from five congressional districts when only four districts were on the petition.
The Mississippi Cannabis Freedom Act
Steven Griffin, the director of the Mississippi Cannabis Freedom Fund has sponsored a bill that he hopes will amend the constitution of the state. The bill would legalize marijuana for recreational purposes for anyone over the age of 18.
The bill has had not much success at all with the issue of the number of signatures being a problem. The number required, in addition to congressional districts, is 12 percent of the number of people that voted for the governor in the most recent gubernatorial election. Advocates have one year to send their petition and get them certified by the county clerks of the districts in question. The Secretary of State must receive them 90 days before the election.
That did not happen in 2020. For this constitutional amendment to even be considered, over 106 thousand signatures from five districts must be obtained. Until then, either another law must pass, or the answer to “is weed legal in Mississippi” will remain a no. Still, the penalties for first offenses are much lighter than they ever have been.