The Mississippi Senate did an about-face on a proposal to set a 7% sales tax on medical marijuana, first killing a bill and then reviving it hours later in an unusual session after midnight.
The first vote happened Thursday night, and the second one happened early Friday.
Mississippi residents voted by a wide margin in November to adopt Initiative 65, a constitutional amendment that authorizes medical marijuana in the state.
The initiative requires the state Health Department to create a program so marijuana can be available later this year to people with “debilitating” medical conditions. The long list includes cancer, epilepsy and sickle cell anemia.
However, the Mississippi Supreme Court is set to hear arguments April 14 in a lawsuit that is seeking to block the medical marijuana program.
During the Senate debates Thursday night and early Friday, Republican Sen. Kevin Blackwell of Olive Branch said his proposal in Senate Bill 2765 is not intended to create a separate medical marijuana program from the one authorized by voters. Rather, he said his plan would be a backup in case a court blocks Initiative 65.
The proposed sales tax was a new aspect, though. Initiative 65 did not include a tax. [Read more at Jackson Free Press]