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Effort To Legalize Marijuana In Mississippi Is Underway

marijuana mississippi

(image via the Sun Herald)

Mississippi is not a friendly place when it comes to marijuana policy. Get caught with even a little bit of marijuana for a second offense, and you could be looking at 3 years in prison and a hefty fine. Selling a small amount results in a similar penalty. Distributing or cultivating within 1500 feet of a school or church doubles the penalties. Penalties get even harsher as the amount of marijuana involved increases. It’s because of those harsh penalties that marijuana legalization is so important in Mississippi.

Fortunately, there is an effort underway to legalize marijuana in Mississippi. Supporters are currently gathering signatures. Per Marijuana.Com:

The latest example of this activism can be seen in the deep south. Discontent with Mississippi’s currently harsh and outdated cannabis laws, activists in the state have begun traversing the state to gather signatures and fight for legalization.

Over 800 volunteers in the state have dispersed to hopefully obtain the needed 107,000 signatures that would place a referendum to legalize marijuana on Mississippi’s 2016 ballot. Titled Ballot Initiative 48, the initiative would legalize the “production, sale and use of recreational and medical marijuana and industrial hemp”  much like Colorado has done.

Recreational cannabis would be taxed at a 7 percent rate and all proceeds would go to Mississippi’s public school system. Moreover, marijuana use and possession would also become decriminalized, keeping the state’s smokers out of prison and the state’s cops from persecuting marijuana use.

It would be nice to see the volunteer effort gain enough traction to get the attention and backing of a national organization. 107,000 signatures won’t be enough, as valid signature rates can vary greatly. Still, it’s an effort very much pursuing, and I tip my hat to those fighting for reform in Mississippi. It will be an uphill battle no doubt, but it’s a battle fought in the name of justice.


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Johnny Green


  1. Have you tried rallies, info speeches or small group meetings in small towns like Laurel and ellisville start with small towns gathering supporters then moving on to bigger ones

  2. Christopher barnett on

    Hello, my name is Chris Barnett and I live in Vicksburg, MS. I was in a motorcycle wreck 4 years ago and live with debilitating pain. I am disabled now and have a little extra time on my hands. This would not only help me, but many others. Please send me a copy of the forms to be signed and any information that would assist me in helping with the passing of Ballot initiative #48. If you are wondering the email address is my wifes due to my short term memory loss. Thank you for your help. Chris barnett.

  3. With being on disability with chronic pain 24/7 I’m tired of all pain pills that doesn’t work when can smoke for 2mo then quit smoking for month cuz pain management in lot less pain when can smoke Vs when can’t

  4. Texas is actually very likely to be one of the next five states to legalize cannabis, even for recreational use after age of 21. I have read a lot about Louisiana pushing the legalization efforts. anyone who supports alcohol, processed tobacco, or even drugs like Tylenol….but are afraid to allow people the freedom to light up a joint; are ass-backwards. It’s scientific fact that marijuana can help with most ailments, does less damage than the other three drugs I mentioned, even does less harm than caffeine and high fructose corn syrup! But too many sheep want to close their eyes and cover their ears like little kids saying “la la la la…” just to be stubborn and ignorant.

  5. legalized it! (mississippi) on

    I have a add and I smoked bule dream and it helped me focus really good. It also helps me sleep and relax and help my stress off exs and other things I believe medical use of this can help teens from suicidal thoughts and help them be happy but i believe it should only be recommended for depressed people cause most teenaged kill there shelf over it and it would make the world a better place helps my dad he would be better off smoking weed then drinking he drinks alot and that’s why my mom left him legalized weed and the world will be a better place its better then all those pills you take.

  6. Needs to be leagal helps me sleep eat and keeps my bypolar away anxiety pills don’t do anything but make me drained and tired marijuana gives me inspiration to do things

  7. The whole state didnt vote on gaming. Just the three coastal counties. It was supposed to come back to second vote after 5 yrs in 1997 and because casinos were in other counties, it would have had to be a state wide vote which was blocked because they new it would be overturned and gaming would have to go because of the “bible belt” which will be the game stopper if this even makes it on the ballot.

  8. Look up Fortune’s article “The 10 most corrupt states in the U.S.” and MS is at the top. We are #1 in that, at least. :(

  9. Mississippi – Last in everything and proud of it! Broke and corrupt, but at least no damn Democrats! I figure Mississippi will legalize around the same time as Texas and Louisiana. i.e. never. Even if the Feds remove it from Schedule I and stop interfering in state affairs regarding cannabis (I think we will see major news in as little as two months) Mississippians won’t want no unrepentant pot smoking leftist hippie tree huggers and their librul ideas.

  10. Can you please email a c. of your article on mj in MS to our local paper wwwcopiacountycourier.com. thanks, please let me know f you can, or did and i will look for it on the stands. thanks. keep up the good work

  11. Greetings from Mississsippi to Oregon. We are in what may possibly be the most far right wing town in the state. There is a church on every corner (nearly). Still, we are hanging in, registering voters and gathering signatures for the initiative. Can you send a c. of your article to our local paper? http://www.copiahcountycourier.com thanks if you can do this, and please let me know.

  12. I’ve been thinking about the repercussions if the proposal makes the ballot. Would the other southern states stand idly by while Mississipi, for once, takes a progressive leadership role–and, yes, rakes in all those big bucks, much of it coming from out of state? I like to think there would be a stampede for the other southern states to get their own ballot in place. And what about states outside the South? Would a California and New York want to be seen as lagging behind lowly Mississippi. Mississippi has a big potential role to play and it could be really proud of itself (like the Bulldogs being rated #1 for much of the season). Good luck, ya’ll!

  13. It’s an uphill battle all the way. Most prohibitionist are uneducated when it comes to the many uses of cannabis. Patent numbers such as 6630507 or 0059018 prove there is medical use for cannabis. I for one am really excited about the possibilities of Mississippi moving into the twenty first century.

  14. Karen Strangi Coley on

    My name is Karen Strangi Coley…
    I was born, raised, and still live in Biloxi MS…
    I love it here… SO, If I’m going to feel safe raising my family here we need to LEGALIZE NOW…
    When I say ‘feel safe’, I mean I don’t want to worry that I’ll lose everything and be branded a ‘criminal’ because I, AS AN ADULT, choose Marijuana, the SAFER alternative to prescription drugs or alcohol! (medication & recreational use)
    Not to mention the MUCH needed money to be made for the state and public schools that Mississippi so desperatly needs….

    In an effort to do my part:
    I am sending out ‘Volunteer Starter Kits’.
    …Upon request I will send you two (2) copies of the petition and two (2) copies of MS voters registration forms…
    Also included, will be a flyer to help you with any additional information you need to get started.
    If you’d like me to mail you a starter kit please msg me your address on Facebook …(you can find me by name)


    Thank you ‪#‎TeamLegalize‬
    (Anyone who can donate stamps it would be GREATLY appreciated.)

  15. Mississippi needs this more than any other state at this time. Conditions at Tate County schools are absolutely deplorable. They dont even have proper ac/heat in all buildings. Also the agricultural economy would get an enormous boost. Plenty of land for growing and Ole Miss already has a marijuana field for their agricultural sciences. If we are the first southern state to legalize marijuana it would be just what we need to change Mississippi from the poorest state we’ve got to turn it around! Now is the time. Every vote counts! There are so MANY reasons why legalization make sense, to continue this prohibition while the rest of the country realizes the benefits would only put us further behind. REGISTER-VOTE-SPREAD THE WORD .

  16. Never say never. Remember, Mississippi passed gaming and no one ever thought that would go through.

  17. Mary Jane Green on

    Thanks for this great article! If you live in Mississippi and aren’t registered to vote, get out and get registered and get your signature on the petition for #BI48!! We can do this Mississippi!!

  18. Thank you for such an awesome and encouraging article! We are fighting the good fight down here and this campaign is gaining traction at an extremely fast pace! One of our best tools of success has come directly from law enforcement. They have arrested and imprisoned so many young kids in colleges here for minor sale charges of cannabis, there are now countless families supporting our initiative because they see clearly , people do not belong in prison for a plant and cannabis prohibition is more detrimental to our lives than the actual cannabis. Unfortunately i was sent to prison here in Mississippi for ” manufacturing marijuana” , i did 32 months on a 36 month sentence, so this is a cause that is dear to me and I along with my fellow statesman , have an incredibly difficult Fight ahead of us and this we are aware, But fight we will!

  19. Thanks for writing about Mississippi’s ballot initiative 48. Registered voters who want to see marijuana taxed and regulated like alcohol, need to find and sign our petition. http://www.yesonproposition48.org
    We must collect 21,443 signatures from 5 districts (the old 5 congressional district boundaries) by the end of July. We want to get this up for a vote on the 2016 ballot. So please hurry! get registered to vote, and SIGN OUR PETITION. It must be printed onto legal paper, and when finished, it will have one to 10 signatures and then is turned in to the County Circuit Clerk for the certification.

  20. DeepSouthOtaku on

    that’s a lot less than the last time I checked it was a bout 450 then…. so its almost cut in half. Just hit up a couple of walmarts in each county or something like that. Town hall meetings, family gatherings, facebook! we can get the signatures easy!…. its just getting the votes. making the case. which should only provide light resistance. We should be able show enough people how this would benefit MS that we can get it legalized. we just have to take the time to sit down with those willing to actually listen or rationally and fairly debate at least. I know its not simple but that’s the best approach

  21. Yes, it would be delicious. Unfortunately, there are too many fundamentalists, pols and voters, who think you will go to hell if you smoke a single joint. But just think of all the money that could be made from all the traffic coming from the likes of New Orleans, Memphis, and Mobile.

    FWIW, I grew up in MS and it breaks my heart every time I see it indulge in those idiotic policies that go against its own best interests.

  22. If it makes the ballot, and voters approve, the pols won’t have much choice. How delicious that would be.

  23. We all applaud the effort and hope for the best. However, there are two major obstacles. One is the low tax rate. At 7% it’s unlikely for the state government to stand for missing out on more revenue. The other is that it’s all earmarked for education. Noble as that sounds, there’s no way politicians (overwhelmingly Repug hypocrites) would accept anything that doesn’t contribute to their favorite pork.

    But it would be a wonderful thing for MS, for once, to get on the right side of history and take the leadership role in the South.

  24. I will be encouraging Predict It to put these ballot questions (should they make it to the ballots) on their prediction market site where you can legally wager real money on political outcomes.


    If this makes it to the ballot, I will be betting against its passage in a state where half the Republicans still think interracial marriage should be illegal.

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