Mississippi House, Senate reach agreement on medical marijuana plan

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Members of the Mississippi House and Senate on Tuesday announced a final agreement on a bill to create a medical marijuana program in the state.

The deal comes after lawmakers in the House revised the bill the Senate passed Jan. 13.

State Sen. Kevin Blackwell, R-Southaven and Rep. Lee Yancey, R-Brandon, worked on the bill together and said they expect both chambers to approve the final bill Wednesday. Once it passes, Gov. Tate Reeves can either sign it into law, let it become law without signing it, or veto the bill.

Versions of the bill passed both chambers with a veto-proof majority. Mississippi would become the 37th state to legalize medical marijuana.

Lawmakers' final compromise centers around how often and how much cannabis a medical marijuana patient can purchase. As written, the bill allows patients to purchase 3.5 grams of cannabis up to six times a week, or about 3 ounces a month.

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That's a decrease from the 3.5 ounces a month the Senate originally passed, and the 5 ounces a month voters approved in November 2020.

Gov. Tate Reeves repeatedly asked lawmakers to lower the amount of marijuana a person could purchase, suggesting he might veto the bill if they didn't.

Blackwell and Yancey said the purchase limit will probably increase in the coming years.

"If we find out that three (ounces) isn't enough, we can come back and easily add," Blackwell said.

DeAundrea Delaney owns seven hemp dispensaries in the Jackson metro area and said she plans to convert her stores to cannabis dispensaries once the bill becomes law.

Delaney plans to start what she calls a green empire, and is excited about the economic opportunities that will become available once the burgeoning industry finds its footing.

"It's just going to be overall beneficial to the state now with the program being in place," Delaney said.

Lee O. Sanderlin is an investigative and political reporter covering the state of Mississippi. Got a story tip? You can call him at 601-559-3857, send it to LSanderlin@gannett.com or message him on Twitter @LeeOSanderlin.

This article originally appeared on Mississippi Clarion Ledger: Mississippi Legislature reaches formal agreement on medical marijuana

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