by Hunter Dawkins

In the last week and potentially at the polls in November, historic changes could and will be made in Mississippi.  Nationwide, there have been a few adjustments that we had not seen in this lifetime due to a virus, which the quest for the cure is still ongoing.

Mississippi adopted a removal of the Confederate emblem from the state flag from the State Legislature and an ultimate signature from the governor despite efforts to push this to a referendum vote, as done in 2001.  This measure is a monumental step towards bringing a symbol of equality to a state that has been recognized more for the deplorable past actions rather than its development to a brighter future.

Was the quick reaction due to the nationwide tragic actions, which ignited racial injustice protests?  Possibly, but accepting our failures from the past instead of dodging an emblem without remorse presents a step towards the right direction.

Another measure for potential change is an amendment adopted by the State Legislature on the November 3 general election where a candidate for the position of Mississippi Governor proceeds to a runoff election if they do not receive a majority vote by the people.  The action dismantles a past solution of being chosen by a vote of the House of Representatives.  Normally, the members would side with their constituents or some kind of political pressure.

The next possible alteration could be a legalization of medical marijuana for qualified persons with debilitating medical condition.  Similar to a majority of states nationwide, Mississippi may make an attempt to provide reasonable care for individuals that can’t afford specific pharmaceutical drugs.  An irony of this vote is in the details rather than a yes or no procedure.

Voting for Initiative 65 would support approving the medical marijuana amendment, allowing individuals with over 20 medical qualifying conditions to possess 2.5 ounces of marijuana while having a sales tax rate of 7%.

The State Legislature decided to put in a new procedure during the session as an amendment on the November 3 ballot.  Voting for Alternative 65A would restrict smoking marijuana except for terminally ill patients and require oversight by licensed physicians, nurses, and pharmacists.

Many other suggestions have been brought up, such as mail-in voting and online schooling for the fall semester due to the potential overwhelming flood of COVID-19 (coronavirus) cases.

Even with all of these phenomenal steps toward change, is Mississippi ready to head towards a future of progress?  The only way to see positive innovations is taking a walk towards somewhere we have never been.