The Mississippi Alliance for Cannabis has helped and consulted a large group of individuals who are fighting to legalize and decriminalize the use of marijuana in the state of Mississippi.
The Ballot #48 is titled “Should the use, cultivation and sale of cannabis and industrial hemp be legalized for persons 21 years or older?”
The initiative states that the use, cultivation and sale of cannabis and industrial hemp would be legalized. It also states that crimes related to marijuana would be deemed similar to that of alcohol-related crimes.
Recreational cannabis sales would be taxed 7 percent, and cannabis used for medical purposes and industrial hemp would be exempt from taxes. As for decriminalization, the ballot pushes for the governor to pardon persons who have been convicted of non-violent crimes in relation to cannabis in Mississippi.
The group worked to get their ballot deemed official since early fall 2014. Now that they have been given an official ballot number, the group is hoping to get a minimum of 107, 216 signatures or a minimum of 21, 443 signatures from registered voters in the five districts in Mississippi. They have a year to collect all of these signatures and collection began on Dec. 29.
In order for the initiative to go through, each district must present roughly the same amount of signatures.
There are many rules individuals must follow in order for their signatures and the signatures of others in their district to be counted.
Some of these rules include that each petition cannot have more than 10 signatures on it, every signee must be from the same county and each signature must be signed in black ink.
Senior sociology major Amy Brogan is in favor of Ballot #48.
“As an informed citizen and proud Mississippian, I know that legalization would benefit our state in so many ways,” she said. “Prohibition doesn’t work, and it’s time that we learn from our history and create a successful future so that our state can thrive through the enormous benefits that are guaranteed to be seen once we legalize.”
Mississippi House Rep. Forrest Hamilton spoke to Fox 13 Memphis on his disagreement with the ballot.
“To just give people anything they want could hurt them emotionally and mentally. It’s not helping the patient,” he said. “I am looking at it from a patient standpoint to let them further abuse themselves, which hurts society.”
Currently the group is hosting signing meetings across the state of Mississippi. For more information regarding this ballot contact Kelly Jacobs, the primary spokesperson for Ballot #48, by email at KellitaJ@aol.com or by phone at 662-429-4412.