Secretary of State Michael Watson said it would be a “waste of time” to appeal the Supreme Court’s decision on medical marijuana.
Watson spoke about the voter-passed and court-axed Initiative 65 during a radio appearance Thursday. He said asking the court for a rehearing would only “delay the inevitable.”
Watson said he still supports Gov. Tate Reeves calling a special session for lawmakers to reinstate the program. Reeves said last week he’s a “long way” from deciding rather to call the special session or have lawmakers take up the matter during the next regular session in January.
Watson said based on the majority and the history that justices cited, he believes there’s little chance they would reverse course.
A special session also has the support of Lt. Gov. Delbert Hosemann and Speaker Philip Gunn, as well as local Rep. Nick Bain of Corinth.
The state Supreme Court ruled in a 6-3 split decision May 14 that the medical marijuana initiative was void because Mississippi’s initiative process is outdated, essentially killing both the proposed medical marijuana program and the initiative process at once.
According to Mississippi Today, the court ruled that the state’s ballot initiative process is “unworkable and inoperative” until lawmakers and voters fix state law and the Constitution.
About 1.3 million people voted in Mississippi in November, and more than 766,000 of them voted in favor of Initiative 65.
The state health department was slated to launch the medical marijuana program this summer.
Watson said he also wants lawmakers to ensure two initiatives that voters approved in 2011 could withstand legal challenges. One restricts the government’s use of the eminent domain process to take private property. The other requires voters to show government-issued photo identification.
Petitions for eminent domain and voter ID both used the initiative process that justices now say is invalid.
Mississippi requires initiative sponsors to gather one-fifth of their petition signatures from each congressional district. The process was put into the state constitution in the 1990s, when Mississippi had five districts. The state dropped to four districts after the 2000 census because of stagnant population, but the initiative process was not updated.