Vote "Against Both" Marijuana 65 & 65A
On November 3, Mississippi voters will decide if they want to amend the state constitution to create a constitutional right to smoke marijuana and hashish as a healthcare alternative. Marijuana is an illegal drug and its dangers are not fully known. Changing the Mississippi Constitution in any way to allow its use is foolhardy. There is a top and bottom part of the ballot
On the top part of the ballot, a simple majority of voters (50%) is required to defeat the marijuana amendment. Urge friends and family to vote “AGAINST BOTH.”
The bottom ballot determines how the state would oversee the sale of marijuana if a majority of voters “approve” of adding marijuana to the Constitution. If approved, your vote For 65A will help defeat 65, which is the marijuana industry’s initiative.
Measure 65A is the Mississippi Legislature’s amendment. It can help ensure that only true, FDA-approved, pharmaceutical marijuana would only be available with a doctor’s prescription and filled at a pharmacy. Except for those who are physician-certified, terminally ill, smokable marijuana can be made illegal by the legislature.
Measure 65 is the marijuana industry’s amendment. Measure 65 does not allow the legislature to provide any oversight on how smokable marijuana is regulated. 65 does not require a doctor’s prescription, and the drug would not be distributed in pharmacies. Instead, marijuana would be sold in an unlimited number of marijuana shops across Mississippi where marijuana cardholders can purchase 2.5 ounces of raw, smokable marijuana every 14 days or about 10 joints per day.
Mississippians are being bombarded by a multi million-dollar disinformation campaign funded by marijuana business interests. Many are from out of state and want to make smoking marijuana a constitutional right. Mississippi voters are being deceived into believing this marijuana initiative is about medicine. Don’t be fooled. No doctor will be able to write a prescription to smoke or consume marijuana, and no pharmacist will be able to legally sell it. Instead, marijuana cards will be issued to qualifying individuals who will then go to a marijuana shop to purchase the federally controlled/illegal substance. There is no constitutional limit on the number of allowable marijuana shops in any Mississippi city or county.
While we sympathize with friends and family members of those who suffer from illnesses like seizures and Parkinson’s disease, we acknowledge the warnings and negative effects caused by smoking and consuming marijuana. The following associations of medical physicians have raised the alarm about this illegal drug:
American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) opposes the use of marijuana by minors. The Mississippi marijuana constitutional amendment would create a constitutional right for minors to smoke or consume marijuana with parental consent. The AAP states, “Given the data supporting the negative health and brain development effects of marijuana in children and adolescents, ages 0 through 21 years, the AAP is opposed to marijuana use in this population…. The AAP strongly opposes the use of smoked marijuana because smoking is known to cause lung damage, and the effects of secondhand marijuana smoke are unknown. The AAP discourages the use of marijuana by adults in the presence of minors because of the important influence of role modeling by adults on child and adolescent behavior.”
American Medical Association (AMA) president Susan R. Bailey, M.D., stated, “Amending a state constitution to legalize an unproven drug is the wrong approach. Early data from jurisdictions that have legalized cannabis are concerning, particularly around unintentional pediatric exposures that have resulted in increased calls to poison control centers and emergency department visits, as well as an increase in traffic deaths due to cannabis-related impaired driving.”
Mississippi State Medical Association (MSMA) physicians expressed the same opposition. MSMA president Mark Horne, M.D., stated, “Physicians advocate for evidence-based solutions. When we were asked to review Initiative 65, it was immediately clear that this is an effort focused on generating profits for an industry that has no ties to the medical or health care community in Mississippi. That is just one of many red flags that makes a NO vote essential.” MSMA is asking voters to vote “AGAINST BOTH” 65 and 65A.
Mississippi Board of Health passed a resolution in January expressing “its strong opposition to the Medical Marijuana 2020 Ballot Initiative.” Chairman of the Board Ed D. "Tad" Barham, M.D. is urging Mississippians to vote “AGAINST BOTH.” Chairman Barham stated, “this (marijuana) proposal is not about medicine, and it’s not about parents with cancer or kids with epilepsy…. Studies have shown that marijuana use negatively affects individuals’ processing speed, reasoning, executive function and memory. A “no” vote on this amendment would keep Mississippians safer at work and on our roads.” The Board has also been investigating the national outbreak of pulmonary illnesses linked to vaping marijuana and recommends against using “any e-cigarettes or vaping products, especially those containing THC.” The marijuana amendment would make legal the use of electric cigarettes to vape marijuana which could increase pulmonary illnesses among Mississippi’s youth and adults.
U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams, M.D. issued a statement on the adverse health risks associated with the use of marijuana:
The risks of physical dependence, addiction, and other negative consequences increase with exposure to high concentrations of THC and the younger the age of initiation. Higher doses of THC are more likely to produce anxiety, agitation, paranoia, and psychosis. Edible marijuana takes time to absorb and to produce its effects, increasing the risk of unintentional overdose, as well as accidental ingestion by children and adolescents. In addition, chronic users of marijuana with a high THC content are at risk for developing a condition known as cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome, which is marked by severe cycles of nausea and vomiting.
In addition to the health concerns raised above, the marijuana amendment presents other significant issues related to government control, police protection, and firearm ownership.
Mississippi Municipal League (MML) rightly opposes the marijuana amendment because local governments will have no licensing, zoning, or regulating authority over these marijuana shops. MML passed a resolution to this effect stating the marijuana amendment “will prevent municipalities from regulating the location of medical marijuana dispensaries through zoning and would prohibit municipalities from limiting the number of dispensaries, and therefore negatively impact property values within their boundaries.” Due to the lack of governing authority, Mississippi towns, cities and counties will have no legal recourse to combat the likely outcome of increased crime, decreased property value, and urban blight resulting from the presence of marijuana shops.
Mississippi Association of Chiefs of Police opposes adding marijuana to the constitution because “the long term consequences of a constitutional amendment to address this (medical) need will have detrimental impacts to the communities we are protecting.” Another enforcement problem will be the legalization of all drug paraphernalia listed in the MS code 41-29-105(v). This includes products used to grow, manufacture, and prepare marijuana for distribution as well as scales, syringes, bongs, and cocaine spoons and vials. Making the possession of drug paraphernalia a constitutional right will create a public safety and enforcement dilemma for police officers. Since drug paraphernalia would no longer be illegal, then this constitutional right to drug accessories would undermine the probable cause an officer might otherwise have to conduct searches when suspecting possession of illegal drugs.
Bureau of Alcohol, Firearm and Explosives (ATF) has a form for firearm purchase that states those who have been issued a marijuana card and use marijuana—even for alleged medical purposes—would be ineligible to purchase a firearm. (See question 21.e. below on ATF Form 4473. Revised May 2020)
The Mississippi Constitution does not identify a constitutional right to health care nor does it identify a constitutional right to any product. Voting to create the smoking of marijuana and hashish as a constitutional, healthcare right would make any necessary corrective changes to the constitution extremely difficult. Amending the constitution would require another statewide, ballot initiative.
Creating a constitutional right to smoking marijuana and hashish as a healthcare right would also create a government program run by the MS Department of Health. The Department of Health would be burdened with even more responsibilities during the coronavirus pandemic and any future healthcare crisis. The Mississippi initiative to legalize smoking marijuana and hashish poses great harm to the health of adolescents and adults in Mississippi and ignores the medical experts’ warning above.
Other problems with legalizing marijuana and hashish for alternative health care reasons include:
- Legalization of an unlimited amount of THC content in marijuana and hashish. THC is the psychoactive component that produces the sensation of getting “high” or “stoned.”
- Legalization of combustible or smokable marijuana and hashish. The initiative places no restrictions on smoking marijuana or hashish around children. In fact, the initiative makes it possible for minors to smoke marijuana for alleged therapeutic reasons. It has been shown that second-hand smoke is detrimental to any person’s health.
- Legalization of all forms of marijuana, including hashish and edible marijuana including products, like gummy bears, that are typically marketed to children.
AFA and AFA Action urge Mississippians to vote “AGAINST BOTH” 65 and 65A.
For more information against the Mississippi marijuana ballot initiative, visit: