BRANDON — There’s a $14 billion dollar industry that wants to sell their product in Mississippi.

It’s backed by powerful and wealthy investment firms.

Studies show their product is harmful to our health and will put our kids and vulnerable populations at risk.

Yet, this out-of-state industry has devised a scheme to give themselves special protections in our state constitution, and they won’t pay any sales taxes — so no money for our schools, roads or cities. They want a free ride, but there’s good news. We can stop them.

All we have to do is vote “no” to Initiative 65 and tell the marijuana industry it is not going to get a free ride in Mississippi.

Tobacco, gaming and alcohol companies share something in common with Main Street businesses. They all pay sales tax to help fund our local and state needs. Big Marijuana not only doesn’t want to pay its fair share, but it wants this evasion of taxation enshrined in our state constitution.

This is outrageously bad public policy!

We don’t need to give welfare to an industry larger than the NFL.

Big Marijuana wants to take your money and leave Mississippi families, teachers, health care workers and law enforcement with the mess it helps create.

Make no mistake — it’s all about MONEY.

They will tell you they just want to help sick people, but they are a predatory industry. They have already fed on the compassion of many other states, and now they are selling the same scheme here.

There are a lot of investment firms and wealthy people making many millions by investing in companies selling marijuana across our country. The former CEO of Big Pharma Oxycontin is now in the marijuana industry, and the tobacco companies have invested billions in the last few years.

If you liked Big Tobacco, you are going to love Big Marijuana. It’s the same scheme — just decades later. Sell a product that causes permanent damage to people, while claiming it has no ill effects, and make as much money as you can for as long as you can. They say it’s about compassion, but follow the money. They’ve already spent over $3 million to insert their business plan into our state constitution and will spend much more this fall to position themselves to make a lot of money selling marijuana.

We need to stop Initiative 65. It’s a bad mistake.

They call it “medical marijuana” and appeal to people’s natural concern for the sick.

Who could be against helping the sick? Well, no one, of course. That’s why it is all Big Marijuana ever talks about, but the U.S. surgeon general has stated there is no such thing as “medical marijuana” and emphasizes that it’s a “dangerous drug.”

And here is more you need to know.

Initiative 65 inserts marijuana permanently in our state constitution. The constitution rarely changes and is beyond the reach of the governor and Legislature to regulate. In other words, it will take another statewide referendum to fix any oversights in Initiative 65. And there are plenty of problems.

Initiative 65 would empower an unelected group of 11 Mississippians to run this new industry with unprecedented taxing, spending and regulatory authority inconsistent with our system of government and not answerable to the state Legislature or any elected official.

Doctors would be able to give Mississippians the legal right to smoke 5 ounces of marijuana per month. That translates to about 10 joints per day or 300 per month. Whoa!

Think of the impact on our workforce, driving safety and young people.

Physicians could certify patients with a broad array of medical conditions to use marijuana, including “pain.” It’s a mighty slippery slope other states have already slid down. Anyone, including teenagers, with a headache could be legally allowed to smoke marijuana.

Mississippi needs to take a cautious and wise approach to marijuana. Adding it to our state constitution is neither.

Studies have shown that marijuana use negatively affects individuals’ processing speed, reasoning, executive function and memory. Furthermore, studies confirm young people who regularly use marijuana under the age of 25 lose measurable cognitive abilities permanently.

They claim this is safe and healthy. It’s a lie.

Phil Bryant served as the 64th governor of Mississippi.

(3) comments

Pam

I was under the impression that the substance in marijuana that helps medically was extracted and put in a pill form. Is this not true. It will be prescribed in the form of grass in a "blunt?" The idea of putting smoke of any kind in your lungs is not good.

Please answer this question. It makes 100% my decision as to which way I vote.

hbarbour

Initiative 65 would insert into our State Constitution a right for people to smoke and/or vape marijuana in addition to pills, food products, etc. According to studies, the average "medical marijuana user" in states that have legalized it is a 32 year old white male with a history of drug use, but no serious medical condition. This is the wrong way to legalize this.

Lakeshore Lady

The former governor is purposely misleading about the taxing of cannabis products through initiative 65. After reading up, it states that it will be taxed at the current 7% sales tax. Does that mean alternate 65 is set up to tax it at a higher rate? One thing alternate 65 does do is make the products available only to TERMINAL patients, forcing those with excruciating pain from injuries to turn to highly addictive opioids for relief.

I have vacationed in Colorado for the last 2 summers for two weeks at a time because my son lives & works there. Their paved roads are in top condition, & their schools are new from their taxing of medical & recreation marijuana. I went into a dispensary for some CBD oil, & had to wait in a guarded lobby until I was vetted to enter. These are no back alley operations, as opposed to what’s going on all over the Delta this minute, untaxed, unregulated, & unsafely. Here is a link to get the Facts on our ballot items: https://ballotpedia.org/Mississippi_Initiative_65_and_Alternative_65A,_Medical_Marijuana_Amendment_(2020)

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