Medical marijuana stirs social media debate on governor's page

Gov. Bryant and others weigh in on the medical marijuana topic

MISSISSIPPI (WLOX) - As an initiative to allow medical marijuana in Mississippi gains traction, the state's governor is speaking out on social media against the issue, causing many to respond.

In the post, the governor says he will vote 'no' if medical marijuana makes it onto the ballot. The governor doesn't give an exact reason for his opposition, saying only, "With all the pharmaceutical advancements we have seen, it would seem strange to bring pot into the equation."

Some doctors who advocate using marijuana to treat certain conditions like cancer and epilepsy say that patients respond differently to prescribed drugs. It's a point many made in the comments section of Bryant's post.

Many people told personal stories, commenting that marijuana could help a child's epilepsy, cancer, and severe arthritis in the elderly. Others added that it could also help veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder.

Others vocalized their support, saying that the revenue from medical marijuana could help the state's budget and lower the rate of opioid overdoses. Even more people questioned the governor, asking for research to back up his reason for opposing it.

While the overwhelming majority of comments were in support of medical marijuana, many people sided with the governor, agreeing that it's not an initiative they want to see on the ballot. Some cited concerns that marijuana would open the door for more people to become hooked on drugs while others stated their worries about people driving under the influence of the drug.

The initiative is still in its early stages and needs more than 86,000 certified signatures over the next year from across the state. If that happens, medical marijuana could appear on a statewide ballot in 2020.

The initiative was filed on July 30 with the Secretary of State's office by Ashley Durval, whose daughter's name is on the current law allowing for the use of cannabidiol, or CBD. Durval is pushing to expand the CBD law to allow medical marijuana, saying her daughter Harper, who has a severe form of epilepsy, still hasn't been able to get CBD, despite it being legal since 2014.

For more information about the Medical Marijuana 2020 initiative and the petition to pass it, visit medicalmarijuana2020.com.

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