HANCOCK COUNTY, Miss. (WLOX) - The push to put medical marijuana on Mississippi’s 2020 ballot is gaining momentum.
Mississippians for Compassionate Care needed more than 86,000 signatures on its petition to legalize medical marijuana. By the Sept. 6 deadline, local clerks approved more than 105,000 signatures.
“This being Mississippi, I knew it wouldn’t happen right away," said Sen. Deborah Dawkins. The measure now has to be approved by the secretary of state before it appears on the ballot.
“We need the revenue, and we had the first marijuana farm in the country at Ole Miss in Oxford," Dawkins said. “How ironic is that, that we have scientists working on this substance and we can’t make any money off of it?”
Gov. Phil Bryant has previously shared his opposition on Faceobook, writing, “With all the pharmaceutical advancements we have seen, it would be strange to bring pot into the equation.”
The Medical Marijuana 2020 campaign said it wants to make cannabis available to those with debilitating diseases.
“I think it should be. Medical marijuana, it helps so many people," said Pass Christian resident Toni Gilbert. “People with epilepsy, glaucoma, and even pain for cancer. I think it’s a positive thing.”
Some said they’d rather wait for more in-depth input from medical professionals before making a decision.
“I would line up behind the medical community. They’re the experts; they’re the ones who study this," said Scott Naugle, a Pass Christian resident.
As nationwide interest in medical marijuana grows, people are becoming open to letting the public have a say.
“I wouldn’t have any issue with it being on the ballot. I think that’s the process through which we vet items and have a public discussion about it,"Naugle said.
Washington, D.C. as well as 33 states have legalized medical marijuana since 1996.