Group Seeks Ballot Initiative To Legalize Marijuana In Mississippi

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A group wants voters to make weed legal in Mississippi. Mississippi for Cannabis is hoping to place an initiative on the November 2016 ballot seeking to legalize marijuana in the state. The group filed a petition Monday with the secretary of state's satellite office in Hernando, said petition organizer Kelly Jacobs, a longtime Democratic Party official from Hernando. It's the initial step in the ballot process.

"Now we are waiting for official approval from the Mississippi secretary of state and the attorney general, which will include a ballot initiative number and the official format for the collection of signatures," said Jacobs. "The Mississippi Legislature also has the option to adopt our ballot initiative, but that is unlikely." Secretary of state's office spokeswoman Pamela Weaver confirmed Tuesday that the petition had been filed.

If the secretary of state's and attorney general's offices approve the petition, it would then be up to petition organizers to collect the approximately 110,000 signatures needed within 12 months to get the measure on the ballot. Voters would then have to approve it for it to become law. "If it gets on the ballot, I will be one of those voting no," said former Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics Director Marshall Fisher.

"I'm adamantly opposed to it. ... It would be a very bad move for our society." Fisher said for every dollar gained from legalized marijuana, $10 will be spent on drug rehab. He said that many of those who become drug addicts started with marijuana. Jacobs said the ballot initiative proposal would legalize cannabis for adults to own as much as they wish, to use as they wish, just like alcohol or cigarettes. However, it would have to be kept from minors.

"We want to legalize marijuana and decriminalize it," Jacobs said. "It's an adult discussion we should be having." She also said it would allow adults to raise cannabis, but no more than nine plants for their personal, private use. They also would be able to gift and barter their cannabis with no tax charged. Under the proposal, city and county governments would collect a fee of $25 or more, for a residence, if a cannabis or hemp farm is established in their territory. A farm is defined as growing 10 or more cannabis plants. The size of the farm may trigger a higher fee. A 10 percent tax would go to schools.

During this year's Neshoba County Fair, conservative Circuit Judge Marcus Gordon of Decatur predicted marijuana would be legalized in Mississippi within a decade although he would be opposed to it. Jacobs said it will be an uphill battle to get the approximately 110,000 signatures if the petition is approved, but she said her secret weapon to get the word is social media. She said the goal is to reach adults under the age of 31. Jacobs said she has a sister in Colorado, where it is legal for those age 21 and up to purchase up to an ounce of marijuana at a time for recreational use. She said the Mississippi petition uses the Colorado model but is tailored specifically to the state.



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Source: Clarionledger.com
Author: Jimmie E. Gates
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Website: Group seeks ballot initiative to legalize marijuana in MS