In November 2020, voters in deeply Republican Mississippi approved Initiative 65 — a ballot measure that would have put a right to medical marijuana in the state's constitution. But Initiative 65 has been struck down by the Mississippi Supreme Court.
Explaining their ruling, the justices wrote, "We grant the petition, reverse the secretary of state's certification Initiative 65, and hold that any subsequent proceedings on it are void."
Ken Newburger, executive director for the Mississippi Medical Marijuana Association, was quick to decry the Mississippi Supreme Court's decision. WLBT, the NBC affiliate in Jackson, Mississippi, quotes Newburger as saying, "The Mississippi Supreme Court just overturned the will of the people of Mississippi. Patients will now continue the suffering that so many Mississippians voted to end."
WLBT reporters Sharie Nicole and Courtney Ann Jackson note that the Mississippi Senate "passed a back-up measure" in case the Mississippi Supreme Court struck down Initiative 65.
Mississippi Lt. Gov. Delbert Hosemann, in an official statement, said, "The Senate passed backstop legislation which we anticipate revisiting in January." And Mississippi State Sen. Brice Wiggins, a Republican, said, "This is why we did stay up past midnight having the debate. We went back and forth because we, the Senate, were trying to provide a program that clearly the people of Mississippi want."
The office of Republican Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves has issued an official statement on the ruling, saying, "Like most Mississippians, Gov. Reeves is interested and intrigued by the Supreme Court's decision on the recent ballot initiative. He and his team are currently digesting the Court's 58-page opinion and will make further comment once that analysis is complete."