Gazebo Gazette

Mississippians have voted in favor of legalizing medical marijuana, opting for the less restrictive of two proposals on this year’s ballot.

Initiative 65 amends the Mississippi Constitution to allow the prescription by a doctor of up to 5 ounces (142 grams) of marijuana per month for people who suffer from more than 20 medical conditions.

The Mississippi Department of Health will issue a medical marijuana identification card that would allow patients to obtain medical marijuana from a licensed treatment center. Marijuana sales can be taxed at the current state sales tax rate of 7%.

More than 100,000 people signed petitions to put Initiative 65 on the ballot. Voters had to choose between Initiative 65 and another medical marijuana measure, Alternative 65A, which was a more restrictive policy.

Alternative 65A, authored by members of the Mississippi Legislature, would have restricted smoking marijuana to people with terminal illnesses, although people who are ill but not dying could use oils or other forms of the drug. Alternative 65A left tax rates, possession limits and certain other details to the Legislature, instead of putting those details in the constitution.

Mississippi voters have voted in favor of eliminating a Reconstruction-era electoral college provision in races for governor and other statewide offices.

The Mississippi Constitution currently requires a statewide candidate to win a majority of the popular vote and a majority of the electoral vote. One electoral vote goes to the candidate receiving the most support in each of the 122 state House districts. If nobody wins both the popular vote and the electoral vote, the race is decided by the state House. But representatives are not obligated to vote as their districts did.

Mississippi is the only state with the multistep process for electing a governor. The process was written when white politicians across the South were enacting laws to erase Black political power gained during Reconstruction. The separate House vote was promoted as a way for the white ruling class have the final say in who holds office.

After Tuesday’s results, the final measure was about 71% of voters approved a new state flag featuring a magnolia and the words “In God We Trust” to replace the Confederate-themed flag that state legislators voted to retire in June after the nation erupted in demonstrations following Floyd’s killing.

Mississippi voters also eliminated an 1890s provision that aimed to ensure white control of the state by requiring majorities of both the popular vote and the 122 state House districts to win statewide office. Now, only a popular vote majority is required.