“It’s in the judge’s hands now,” said Madison Mayor Mary Hawkins Butler, outside court chambers after oral arguments were presented concerning Initiative 65 on medical marijuana before the state Supreme Court Wednesday morning. Butler filed a challenge to ballot Initiative 65 on medical marijuana. Credit: Vickie D. King/Mississippi Today

Mississippi Today journalists Bobby Harrison and Geoff Pender discuss last week’s state Supreme Court hearing of oral arguments in Madison Mayor Mary Hawkins Butler’s challenge of the Initiative 65 medical marijuana program passed by voters in November. The pending court decision on whether Initiative 65’s placement on the ballot was unconstitutional has major implications for Mississippi voters’ rights to amend the state constitution.

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Bobby Harrison, Mississippi Today’s senior capitol reporter, covers politics, government and the Mississippi State Legislature. He also writes a weekly news analysis which is co-published in newspapers statewide. A native of Laurel, Bobby joined our team June 2018 after working for the North Mississippi Daily Journal in Tupelo since 1984. He is president of the Mississippi Capitol Press Corps Association and works with the Mississippi State University Stennis Institute to organize press luncheons. Bobby has a bachelor's in American Studies from the University of Southern Mississippi and has received multiple awards from the Mississippi Press Association, including the Bill Minor Best Investigative/In-depth Reporting and Best Commentary Column.

Geoff Pender serves as senior political reporter, working closely with Mississippi Today leadership on editorial strategy and investigations. Pender brings 30 years of political and government reporting experience to Mississippi Today. He was political and investigative editor at the Clarion Ledger, where he also penned a popular political column. He previously served as an investigative reporter and political editor at the Sun Herald, where he was a member of the Pulitzer Prize-winning team for Hurricane Katrina coverage. Originally from Florence, Mississippi, Pender is a journalism graduate of the University of Southern Mississippi and has received numerous awards throughout his career for reporting, columns and freedom of information efforts.