On Friday, May 14, the Mississippi Supreme Court issued a much-anticipated ruling that strikes down the Medical marijuana program enshrined in the state constitution by voters in November. The ruling also voids — for now — the state’s ballot initiative process that allows voters to take matters in hand and pass constitutional amendments.

We asked readers what they thought about the decision. Here’s what you said.

Scroll to view some select responses, or click a question below to skip ahead.

How do you feel about the Mississippi Supreme Court’s decision to overturn the ballot initiative process?

“It was the wrong thing to do. People voted on it—why did we bother?”

“The most anti-democratic experience in my lifetime. The exact opposite of Democracy.”

“I feel it was the wrong decision. Once the item became on the ballot, the ballot initiative process became somewhat moot, and the people spoke.”

“It overturned the will of the people. It doesn’t matter if I was for or against it; the initiative system is supposed to be the voice of the people.”

“It seems like the correct decision to me. We don’t have five congressional districts any more, so it’s not possible to gather signatures from five districts if we only have four.”

“It was the wrong to do. People voted on it—why did we bother? Bad message to send in a state that has always struggled to get the vote out.”

“It was the correct decision. The problem lies with the legislature (as always) who should have long ago fixed the problem.”

“It has robbed Mississippi voters of their say based on a technicality in state law. No matter the initiative, issue, or topic, voters have been stripped of this power by a privileged few who chose to ignore the spirit of the law in favor of the technical language of the law. The commonsense voting public needs a way to effect policy in a state like Mississippi where our leaders often fail to act on important issues based on their own selfish political calculations. We’ve now been stripped of this power to effect change.”

Do you believe that Gov. Reeves should call a special legislative session to address the issue?

Of the 410 readers who participated, 94.4% believe Reeves should call a special legislative session.

How do you feel about the Mississippi Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Initiative 65 (medical marijuana)?

“I have never written to a state legislator before, but I did tonight.”

“I am horrified, saddened and angered by the decision. The new provision offered desperately needed relief to many who are suffering from chronic pain and a variety of health problems. And now their suffering must continue.”

“I could care less about the particular initiative personally, though I imagine that it would be of assistance to some people. My concern is with the Mississippi Supreme Court overturning any initiative that has already been voted upon and approved by the citizens of Mississippi.”

“I find it interesting that other initiatives were passed and this issue wasn’t brought up. I think the Supreme Court did its job, but this shows how broken our system is.”

“I have never written to a state legislator before, but I did tonight. I felt the need to express my extreme discontent with how the initiative 65 ruling has gone down. I just want to say that if the will of 74% of the voters in Mississippi is not taken into account, it will be a sad day for Mississippi.”

“I get both arguments, but at the end of the day, 74% of the voting population made it will known. regardless of any idealistic belief you may hold, the will of the people is what the constitution is designed to protect, not the will of a person.”

“It’s not just about the medical Marijuana initiative. It’s the point that it was voted on and it has now been shot down.”

“It’s constitutionally correct. The failure is the legislators.”

This decision impacts other ballot initiatives such as:

  • Expanding Medicaid
  • Enacting early voting and term limits
  • Legalizing recreational marijuana
  • Giving voters the opportunity to restore the old flag that contained the Confederate battle emblem in its design
  • Replacing the 1890 flag that contained the Confederate battle emblem

How do you feel about these initiatives being voided?

“It’s voter suppression at its finest.”

“I feel that direct ballot initiatives are a great way for the people to directly choose what they want, and the decision to take that away is a travesty.”

“If the initiative dealing with medical marijuana is unconstitutional, then the others are as well, right? How can we avoid that assumption? This is why we need to move quickly to begin the constitutional amendment process.”

“While I do not agree with all of the initiatives being presented, It is still our right to have a chance to vote as a whole and decide.”

“Whether I agree with these initiatives or not, it’s an injustice to not be able to ask the citizens of Mississippi to voice their opinions through a vote. It’s voter suppression at its finest.”

“While I may not agree with all those initiatives, I should be allowed to voice my opinion at the ballot box.”

“The initiative process may need to be updated or changed in some way(s), but I lean towards giving voters more options for putting matters on the ballot as that might put more pressure on elected officials to do their jobs when in session.”

“I am okay with these initiatives being voided. The public shouldn’t be making public policy… that is why we have elected legislators in our representative republic.”


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