JACKSON • Towards the backdrop of a court docket ruling that tossed a voter-backed medical hashish program, state lawmakers on Monday thought-about two very totally different approaches to medical marijuana rules.
The Senate Public Well being and Welfare Committee on Monday heard from representatives in two states — one in Utah and one in Oklahoma.
Senate Public Well being Chairman Hob Bryan, D-Amory, instructed the Every day Journal that Monday’s listening to is a approach for lawmakers to think about how a possible program ought to be regulated.
“What that appears like proper now, I don’t know, however I do consider there’s a widespread consensus that people who find themselves affected by extreme sickness ought to have entry to medical marijuana,” Bryan mentioned.
In Utah, marijuana is strictly regulated for medicinal functions, and solely round 42 pharmacies within the state carry an lively enterprise license to take part in this system.
In contrast, Oklahoma has a a lot much less regulated medical marijuana program, which has about 368,218 sufferers or about 9.3% of the state.
“If it is drugs, let’s deal with it like drugs,” Evan Vickers, Utah’s senate majority chief instructed lawmakers by way of Zoom. “Each from the regulatory facet and the medical facet.”
In response to info gathered from the Nationwide Convention of State Legislatures, round 23,089 persons are registered in Utah’s medical marijuana program, which is about 0.72% of the state. Round 2,000 dispensaries within the state have an lively enterprise license.
An Oklahoma lawmaker, nevertheless, believes the strategy taken by his state is just not particularly controversial.
“Most people that I speak to, even in a conservative state like Oklahoma, actually haven’t got an issue with medical marijuana or an adult-use program,” Oklahoma state Rep. Scott Fetgatter mentioned on the listening to.
Mark Money, the proprietor of a CBD dispensary in Saltillo, spoke on the listening to and mentioned that he sells merchandise in his retailer which have a minor dosage of THC, the principle ingredient in hashish.
Money mentioned he was ready to transition his retailer over to a medical marijuana dispensary as a result of he’s seen firsthand the results that his merchandise have on individuals.
“If we might permit the next degree of THC … I believe that may be value it,” Money mentioned.
Money mentioned he believes $25,000 to $30,000 per 12 months can be an inexpensive charge for a marijuana enterprise license and would permit for honest competitors amongst enterprise builders.
That is the second listening to the Senate Public Well being and Welfare Committee has performed because the Mississippi Supreme Courtroom in Could dominated that the medical marijuana initiative and the state’s poll initiative course of are invalid.
For the reason that excessive court docket’s resolution to toss out the initiative, speak has circulated a couple of particular session to reinstall a medical marijuana program and restore the initiative course of so voters can instantly amend the Structure.
The one individual with the facility to name the lawmakers again into session earlier than January 2022 is Republican Gov. Tate Reeves, who would even have the authority to set the agenda for such a session.
Reeves appeared hesitant at first to name lawmakers again into session. Earlier this month, he shifted his place considerably and instructed members of the press he supported a particular session to deal with marijuana so long as a broad consensus existed amongst legislators beforehand concerning the specifics of any proposed program.
“I can name them right into a particular session, and for $30,000 a day, they’ll sit round and speak and negotiate and decide what a medical marijuana plan can appear to be,” Reeves beforehand instructed the Every day Journal. “Or I can’t name them in but, and for $0 a day, they’ll speak and negotiate and develop a plan.”
Reeves has been much less receptive to utilizing a particular session for lawmakers to deal with the initiative course of. Since he believes the initiative course of cannot be thought-about by voters till 2022, he believes the common legislative classes will give lawmakers ample alternative to deal with the initiative course of.
Republican Lt. Gov. Delbert Hosemann, the chief of the Senate, declined to touch upon whether or not he has talked with Reeves not too long ago on the opportunity of a particular session.
“I’m not speaking about that in the present day,” Hosemann mentioned. “All the pieces’s within the governor’s palms.”