by Deborah J. Dawkins, Former Mississippi State Senator

Over the next few weeks you will be seeing many recommendations for voting on Initiative 65 – allowing adult Mississippians access to marijuana for medical purposes. I recommend you vote YES on this proposal.

Mississippi had the first legal marijuana farm in the United States, located at the University of Mississippi in Oxford as a research facility.

At some point in our state’s history, there was a move to prepare for a time when this natural product would be legalized.

At last we have made the progress in this state to act for removal of the Prohibition of this product.

When it comes to voting YES for Initiative 65, not all former politicians agree with me. This is no secret. For the 4 years former governor Phil Bryant served as Lt Governor, he killed all proposed legislation regarding legalization.

Suffice to say former governor Bryant has never been one to support progressive ideas.

Let’s stick to the facts when examining this issue. Bryant fails to offer proof of any connection between medical marijuana and the large tobacco industries, yet he describes marijuana business as being a “predatory industry.”

I will say Phil Bryant has been supportive of medical education and University of Mississippi Medical Center and that is appreciated, but that does not mean he has developed the medical knowledge to advise the public on matters of public health.

He has served in public office most of his adult life until this year. Bryant has no medical credentials that I am aware of.

Senator Dawkins served District 48 (Pass Christian, Long Beach, Gulfport) for 20 years (2000-20).  Dawkins was the first female to serve on the Marine Resources and Public Health Committees.  She was the chair of the State Library Committee for 8 years and authored numerous bills attempting to legalize medical marijuana throughout her service.