Although there is a consensus among Mississippi leaders to try to get medical marijuana taken care of this year, no such rush exists any longer for a related and arguably more pressing concern: the initiative process itself.
The state Supreme Court decision that invalidated voter-approved medical marijuana also put on hold any other citizen-led efforts to bypass the Legislature.
When the high court’s ruling first came down, some in the Legislature, including House Speaker Philip Gunn, said they wanted Gov. Tate Reeves to call a special session to legalize medical marijuana and reinstate the initiative process.
The push, though, for the latter has cooled off. Now it’s pretty certain that the initiative process will not be taken up by the Legislature until 2022.
The rationale for the delay is that reinstating the initiative process will require voter approval, and the next scheduled general election is not until November 2022.
More likely, however, the delay reflects disagreement within the Legislature about the initiative process.
Citizen-led initiatives have become increasingly driven by well-financed special interests. Many lawmakers don’t like it. They would prefer an initiative process that is almost never successful, and they are probably trying to figure out how to make that so.
- The Greenwood Commonwealth