Last updated on: 5/17/2021 | Author:

May 14, 2021 – Mississippi Medical Marijuana Effort Thwarted by Outdated Constitutional Requirement

The Mississippi Supreme Court struck down a ballot measure supported by almost 69% of Mississippi voters to legalize medical marijuana.

The court tossed the initiative because Section 273 of the Mississippi state constitution requires ballot measure supporters to gather signatures from all five congressional districts.

However, Mississippi currently only has four congressional districts, having lost one after the 2000 Census count. The provision, added in the 1990s, has not been amended.

Justice Josiah Coleman, representing the six-judge majority, wrote, “Whether with intent, by oversight, or for some other reason, the drafters of section 273(3) wrote a ballot-initiative process that cannot work in a world where Mississippi has fewer than five representatives in Congress… To work in today’s reality, it will need amending — something that lies beyond the power of the Supreme Court.”

Justice James Maxwell, dissenting, wrote that the constitution as it stands “judicially kills Mississippi’s citizen initiative process.”