What happens now to medical marijuana in Mississippi?

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What looked like a major victory for proponents of medical marijuana was turned around after the Mississippi Supreme Court ruled that the process of bringing it up for a public vote was flawed.

Voters overwhelmingly said, ‘Yes’ to Initiative 65, but that now apparently doesn’t matter.

“It’s just a matter of switching seeds. Same growing process, same techniques,” Geary said.

But Geary will have to stick with the hemp growing operation now that the Supreme Court struck down the measure that was approved overwhelmingly by voters last fall.

The state’s high court ruling brings a sudden halt to what was the beginning stage of Mississippi’s medical marijuana industry and many stakeholders who had just started to take their first steps in this new industry are now left wondering what happens next.

“It’s all about return on investment and doing it the right way, and that is what GrowGen provides as a guarantee,” said GrowGeneration President Michael Salaman.

But GrowGen’s plans for building this and other sites in Mississippi are now up in the air. The company’s president was banking on a good first year by most accounts.

“We are forecasting first year, and our first year will be from August to August, we think we can do $5 million of business, conservatively,” Salaman said.

The Mississippi State Department of Health had been holding public hearings online with potential growers and dispensaries. But all of it is now up in smoke after Friday’s State Supreme Court ruling that the initiative process used by voters to bring the matter up for a statewide vote, and eventually approve medical marijuana, was outdated.

Even though an overwhelming number of voters approved medical marijuana.

“It’s done. It’s all over but the crying,” said Matt Steffey, a Mississippi College School of Law professor.

Steffey said there is no federal appeal route for the state high court ruling.

“For proponents of medical marijuana this is the end. This is the worst-case scenario. This citizens’ initiative is out. All future citizens’ initiatives are out -- at least for the foreseeable future,” Steffey said.

Geary still holds out hope of growing medical marijuana in Scott County.

“The ruling means for me, is that I’ve got to wait. Maybe a year or so before I even know what the rules are going to be for medical marijuana,” Geary said.

Geary will continue to grow hemp, because legal analysts say, at least for the foreseeable future, the only way medical marijuana comes back up again in Mississippi is through the hands of the Legislature that didn’t approve such a measure until voters first forced their hand.

The only way a medical marijuana measure is to come back at this point is for lawmakers to do it. House Speaker Philip Gunn said he supports the voters having the ability to call measures up for a vote of the people and that a special session may be the best way to address the matter.

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