The Mississippi House of Representatives passed an amended version of the Senate’s medical marijuana bill on Wednesday, lowering the amount of cannabis a patient can purchase each month.
The measure was approved on a 104–14 vote. The changes addressed concerns raised by Gov. Tate Reeves (R), who repeatedly called for lawmakers to lower the amount, Marijuana Moment reported.
The legislation allows patients to purchase the equivalent of 3.5 grams of marijuana (or 1 gram of cannabis concentrate) daily, with a maximum monthly limit of 3 ounces. The maximum monthly amount of cannabis that can be purchased passed by the Senate was 3.5-ounces.
Rep. Lee Yancey (R), who chairs the House Drug Policy Committee, and who has been working with the bill’s lead sponsor, Sen. Kevin Blackwell (R), expects that the legislature will increase the amount in the future.
“When I got involved in this bill, I said, ‘How can we build a wall around this program, so the people who get it are the people who need it the most, and only the people who need it the most?’” Yancey said. “This is not for everybody out on the street. This is not for a bunch of kids. This is for hurting people with debilitating conditions.”
In addition to lowering the amount of marijuana a patient can purchase monthly, Yancey made another two changes to the bill, including removing the Department of Agriculture and Commerce from oversight of the industry and handing the role to the Department of Health, while also enabling cannabis cultivators and processors to locate in commercial-zoned areas in addition to areas zoned for agricultural and industrial use.
The bill is now heading back to the Senate, where changes can either be accepted or further negotiated between the two chambers.
When, or if, the Senate approves the changes and Gov. Reeves signs the bill, the program regulating and selling cannabis to registered patients will kick off later this year.
Mississippi voters approved a broad legalization initiative in November 2020.