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Challenges could come to previous...

Challenges could come to previous ballot initiatives if MS Supreme Court rules against Initiative 65

By: Sarah Ulmer - April 29, 2021

Some Initiative 65 collaborators say if the Mississippi Supreme Court rules against validity of the medical marijuana program they will challenge other initiatives.

The Mississippi Supreme Court is currently considering arguments regarding whether or not Initiative 65, the medical marijuana program, was properly certified for the ballot in November 2020. Mayor of Madison Mary Hawkins Butler challenged the initiative, saying it was not certified on a five Congressional District model.

RELATED: MS Supreme Court hears arguments on constitutionality of Medical Marijuana Initiative 65

The Court has yet to make their ruling as to whether or not the medical marijuana program could be shut down, but some in support of Initiative 65 have already indicated that they will challenge previous ballot initiatives certified in the same way.

Marcy Croft of the Mississippi Cannabis Trade Association told Paul Gallo on the SuperTalk morning show that if the state Supreme Court invalidates Initiative 65 she will personally file an action challenging Voter ID. Croft said she will not be doing so as a representative of MCTA, but as an individual.

However, she is hopeful it won’t come to that.

“I don’t think our Supreme Court is going to do that looking at the law, looking at the facts,” said Croft.

Croft added that if the Justices do rule against the certification process it could bar future initiatives from coming forward, which would hinder the public’s ability to have input into the law as it is currently structured by the Legislature.

State Representative Joel Bomgar, who was the primary supporter of Initiative 65 in the Legislature, did not indicate any intention to split focus between Initiative 65 and challenging past ballot initiatives.

Rep. Joel Bomgar

“To my knowledge, all of the people who backed Initiative 65 are exclusively focused on allowing medical marijuana for patients in need in Mississippi. That is the only issue area I’m aware of. I’m not aware of any efforts by anyone connected to Initiative 65 on anything else,” said Bomgar.

Since the last Census count in 2010, Mississippi has seen two initiatives passed on the ballot prior to Initiative 65. They are Initiative 27 (Voter ID) and Initiative 31 (Eminent Domain).

Dozens of initiatives have been offered over the last decade, with some not making it through the signature process, and others, such as the public-school funding effort in Initiative 42, failing on the ballot.

There are currently several initiatives underway with the goal of reaching the 2022 ballot including another state flag referendum, the expansion of Medicaid, early voting, and term limits of public officials and members of Congress.

Those who are for the upholding of Initiative 65 say if the Mississippi Supreme Court choses to overturn in, previously passed ballot initiatives and those in the certification process now could become invalid.

About the Author(s)
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Sarah Ulmer

Sarah is a Mississippi native, born and raised in Madison. She is a graduate of Mississippi State University, where she studied Communications, with an emphasis in Broadcasting and Journalism. Sarah’s experience spans multiple mediums, including extensive videography with both at home and overseas, broadcasting daily news, and hosting a live radio show. In 2017, Sarah became a member of the Capitol Press Corp in Mississippi and has faithfully covered the decisions being made by leaders on some of the most important issues facing our state. Email Sarah: