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Dr. David Allen on the push to legalize marijuana in Mississippi

Initiative 77 is in the signature gathering stage. The measure includes allowing for recreational use and home growing operations.
Published: Jul. 23, 2021 at 3:12 PM CDT
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BILOXI, Miss. (WLOX) - Initiative 77 is in the signature-gathering phase. It includes allowing for recreational use and home growing operations.

Sponsor Dr. David Allen, who filed the paperwork, hopes to gather 106,000 signatures to get it on next year’s ballot.

The proposal calls for the legalization of everything from possession, to use, and home growing, as long as it isn’t more than 99 plants. It would also authorize a 7% sales tax on the products and allow marijuana smoking wherever tobacco smoking is permitted. It proposes to replace Initiative 65, the medical marijuana ballot measure that voters approved in November.

Dr. Allen said he got involved with the movement from his connection to David Singletary, who ran for Mississippi governor as an independent on a cannabis platform in 2019.

“We both want to end the [drug] war,” said Allen. “If people are interested in ending the drug war instead of changing it into something else, they should probably join Initiative 77 supporters on Facebook.”

Allen believes the legalization of cannabis and hemp would bring money to Mississippi. He claims there is a potential to create a cannabis-based economy. Allen, however, does not want out-of-state companies to control the local cannabis business.

“If citizens can grow sufficient quantities, the money will actually come to the citizens,” said Allen.

Early in July, Allen was among a group of marijuana supporters who gathered outside the State Capitol. He wanted to make sure Mississippi lawmakers heard from Mississippians and not just folks from out of state.

The initiative also has some criminal justice reform items. Allen said that one of the premises of the initiative is to allow doctors, scientists and veterinarians the ability to study cannabis without fear of losing their licenses or going to prison.

A full copy of Initiative 77 can be found on the Mississippi Secretary of State’s website.

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