The Mississippi Supreme Court on Friday struck down a medical marijuana initiative, Initiative 65, that succeeded at the polls in the November election, overturning the will of nearly 70% of the state’s electorate in the process. The Supreme Court justices ruled in a 6 to 3 decision that Mississippi’s voter initiative process is constitutionally flawed, effectively dooming any future voter-led ballot measures until a remedy is passed by the legislature.
In November, Mississippi voters approved Initiative 65, a measure that would have legalized medical marijuana use, production, and sales. To qualify the initiative for the statewide ballot, supporters of the measure collected enough voter signatures in each of the five congressional districts that existed when Mississippi’s initiative process was drafted in the 1990s. Under that constitutional provision, Section 273, no more than 20% of the signatures necessary to qualify initiatives for the ballot could come from any single congressional district.
However, Mississippi now has only four congressional districts, after losing one seat in the House of Representatives following the 2000 census. So, supporters of the ballot initiative relied on a legal opinion previously issued by former Mississippi Attorney Jim Hood and collected 20% of the required total from each of the five