It was a little bit of a shocker in 2020 when Mississippi voters, by a 3-to-1 margin, voted to legalize medical marijuana.
Given the conservative nature of this state, one might need thought that Mississippi can be the final one to go for medical marijuana, or no less than that the vote would have been by a a lot narrower margin.
Because the state nears the implementation of this system, although, it’s returning nearer to type, with a lot of cities — and some counties — opting out of collaborating, no less than quickly.
I attempted unsuccessfully to get a rely Friday of what number of cities and counties in Mississippi have opted out up to now. The Nice Google hadn’t up to date the quantity since mid-April, and I made my calls too late within the day to get a solution from the state Division of Well being, which regulates this system, or the municipal and county associations.
However it’s now greater than 10 cities and a number of other counties, together with each Leflore and Carroll, which have voted to go for now on the cultivation or sale of marijuana for medicinal functions, with most of them passing on each.
Native counties have till Tuesday to choose out, underneath the state regulation enacted earlier this 12 months by the Legislature. That regulation took the place of the constitutional modification voters accepted in 2020 however was later thrown out by the state Supreme Court docket on a technicality.
A few of these authorities our bodies which have opted out are doing so as a result of they don’t really feel they’ve had sufficient steering or time to draft the zoning ordinances and different laws they may must cope with the brand new trade. They’re ready for others to determine the main points so that they have some greatest practices to observe.
However there are additionally just a few locales the place non secular conservatives’ distaste for all issues mind-altering is coming to the fore.
In Carroll County, for instance, supervisors voted 3-2 final week to choose out after listening to an impassioned plea from two ministers who warned that medical marijuana is the street to perdition. I don’t query the preachers’ sincerity, however Carroll County’s resolution was a bit ironic since that hilly, sparsely populated county has been a fertile space for unlawful marijuana cultivation, to not point out good old school moonshine stills.
I acknowledge my very own misgivings about medical marijuana. Though the Legislature tightened up the laws from what had been proposed in Initiative 65, there’s sure to be some abuse, with individuals faking a situation, corresponding to persistent ache, to be able to be licensed for buying medical marijuana that they’ll both smoke recreationally or resell at a marked-up value.
Ought to that occur, although, it might not be the worst factor on this planet, as it might make sure the purity of what individuals are smoking or ingesting.
What you retain listening to from these in regulation enforcement and within the psychological well being occupation is that the marijuana bought on the road as we speak will not be “your mom’s marijuana.” The focus of THC, the compound in marijuana that produces the excessive sensation, is a number of instances stronger than a few many years in the past. There have additionally been frequent reviews of illicit marijuana being laced with different medicine, both to pad the load or to boost the psychological response, typically with horrible, even life-threatening outcomes.
Though the scare about “dangerous marijuana” is likely to be overblown, there’s no query that marijuana offered by a government-licensed supplier goes to be safer than what comes from a bootleg supply.
There are different causes, apart from non secular ones, to be leery of marijuana legalization. As soon as a product is legalized, it’ll be consumed extra and at a youthful age. That’s what occurred with alcohol after the nation gave up on its experiment with Prohibition. There’s already proof that the identical is occurring with marijuana in states the place it has been legalized.
Marijuana will not be benign for growing brains. The present analysis suggests marijuana use by youngsters can impair their consideration, reminiscence and studying, and the injury can final a very long time and even be everlasting.
Nonetheless the die has been solid on marijuana. Three-fourths of the states have legalized its medical use, and in simply the previous decade a 3rd of the states have accomplished the identical for leisure functions. It’s only a matter of time earlier than marijuana is legalized nationwide.
There can be advantages from legalization, and never just for these whose bodily struggling could also be lessened by the drug. Legalization will cut back drug-related crime and incarceration charges. It can liberate police departments to deal with extra severe threats to public security. It can produce one other stream of income for state and native governments.
Let’s hope these advantages outweigh the dangers.