Local politicians and medical leaders are working to get medical marijuana on Mississippi's 2020 ballot.
Currently, medical marijuana is only available in an extremely limited fashion in the Magnolia state. Patients are only allowed to access it in the form of CBD-oil—a concentrated form of a compound extracted from cannabis that is non-intoxicating—and only if they suffer from epilepsy. However, a local ER physician is among the leaders of a recent petition to put broader medical marijuana legislation on the state's 2020 ballot.
"As an emergency room physician, I see so many people who are suffering who could benefit from the use of this very beneficial medication," Dr. Philip Levin told WLOX. "It's not recreational use. This is strictly for approved uses of certain diseases."
The petition was launched back in September by Grassroots Community Headquarters and Mississippians for Compassionate Care. Since then, the petition has garnered more than 45,000 signatures, that's more than half of the 86,185 they need before the deadline in September.
Levin isn't the only medical professional supporting the petition either. Justin Horst, who worked as an EMT for 12 years, said that a lot of the opioid overdoses and alcohol-related crashes he responded to over the course of his career probably could have been avoided if cannabis had been available to people.
"I think it's, it's a good thing," said Horst. "Helps with pain. Get rid of the opioid problem. You get rid of alcohol problems. It's going to help with your fibromyalgia. It's going to help with your anxiety, your depression. All types of medical healing properties, and I agree with that."
And as one local Mississippi mayor says, if it's good enough for the healthcare professionals, it's good enough for him.
"To me it's just an opportunity to give people more options to make the best decision for their lives," said Ocean Springs Mayor Shea Dobson.
Of course, that doesn't change the fact that Mississippi has one of the country's most marijuana-adverse governors in office. If Mississippians want to see medical marijuana come to their state, it would likely have to come in the form of a voter initiative like this one.