A Mississippi lawmaker is pushing to legalize a comprehensive medical marijuana program in the 2017 legislative session.
State Representative Joel Bomgar recently submitted a piece of legislation that would allow patients suffering from a variety of heath conditions to have access to cannabis medicine. The proposal, filed under House Bill 179, otherwise known as the “Mississippi Medical Marijuana Pilot Program Act,” would set up a system that allows the state to experiment with legal medical weed.
The bill would give people with “cancer, glaucoma, spastic quadriplegia, positive status for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS), seizures, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), Crohn’s disease, multiple sclerosis, ulcerative colitis, and intractable pain” the freedom to possess up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana at a time.
However, no smokeable form of the herb would be allowed – only edibles and other cannabis products.
Representative Bomgar told The Clarion-Ledger that his mission to establish a statewide medical marijuana program stems from having both his mother and father succumb to cancer. He says that after watching them endure the wrath of chemotherapy, which made them extremely sick and unable to keep food down, he believes medical marijuana could have been beneficial in taking the edge off such a brutal treatment.
Three years ago, the Mississippi Legislature approved what has been deemed Harper Grace’s Law, which was supposed to allow children suffering from epilepsy to use non-intoxicating (THC-free) cannabis oil. However, right now the law can be deemed worthless, as it has so far failed to benefit a single child.
“If it doesn’t become available soon, we will be moving,” said Ashley Peszynski Durval, mother of Harper Grace, who suffers from Dravet Syndrome, a rare form of epilepsy. “We can’t wait forever. I just hate that it didn’t happen fast enough for Harper Grace and all the others who are waiting.”
But disgruntled families would not have to move far. Neighboring Arkansas legalized a comprehensive medical marijuana program in last November’s election – putting pressure on Mississippi lawmakers to pass similar reforms.
Unfortunately, there is not much hope that the Republican-dominated legislature will be open to expanding the state’s medical marijuana law. In fact, Bomgar thinks that despite the restrictive nature of his bill, conservative forces will likely still reject his proposal.