AFA opposes Mississippi Marijuana Amendments: Vote 'AGAINST BOTH'
On November 3, Mississippi voters will decide if they want to amend the Mississippi Constitution to create a constitutional right to smoke marijuana and hashish as a healthcare alternative.
AFA is opposed to adding marijuana to the Mississippi Constitution and is asking voters to vote "AGAINST BOTH" marijuana constitutional measures, 65 and 65A.
For more information, go to www.afaAction.net/Initiative65 where you can view and download information to share with neighbors, friends, and church members, and urge them to vote "AGAINST BOTH." Below is a sample ballot.
Mississippians are being bombarded by a multimillion-dollar disinformation campaign funded by marijuana business interests.[i] 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.
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, and the Mississippi marijuana 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."[ii]
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."[iii]
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."[iv] 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."[v] Chairman of the Board Ed "Tad" Barham, M.D., is urging Mississippians to vote "AGAINST BOTH." Chairman Barham stated that "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."[vi]
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.[vii]
In addition to the health concerns raised above, the marijuana amendment presents other significant issues related to government control and police protection.
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."[viii]
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."[ix]
The marijuana amendment would also mandate, by constitutional authority, that the Mississippi Department of Health run the marijuana program for the benefit of the marijuana industry. No tax revenue will be allocated for education or infrastructure, for example. 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' warnings above.
The Mississippi Constitution does not identify a constitutional right to healthcare, 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. That's why voting "AGAINST BOTH" 65 and 65A is essential.