Under normal circumstances, the people of a state would vote on an issue, and new laws would be passed. But this did not happen when Mississippi citizens voted in favor of marijuana legalization. Due to a strange constitutional loophole, lawmakers and citizens alike have been left scratching their heads. Back in November, citizens supported the legalization of medical marijuana.
But in May of 2021, the Mississippi Supreme Court ruled in favor of a man who sued the state over the implementation of the ballot initiative. Now, questions are being raised as to whether or not the medical marijuana dispensaries will even open as expected this year.
Why is this happening? The exact laws on ballot initiatives are quite simple. They become valid if whoever registers the proposal can get one-fifth of their signatures from each of the state’s five congressional districts. There is only one problem: Mississippi only has four congressional seats. This means that it is constitutionally impossible to validate any ballot initiative. The court’s justices accepted that the situation was difficult, but they said that they were forced to follow the law as it had been written.
Now, lawmakers are asking themselves how they will move forward. They also express concerns that voters do not actually have the power to change the law, something that is important in any democratic society. It goes without saying that this has become a very strange situation. In fact, it could also have an impact on past laws that have passed since Mississippi’s congressional seat loss, including controversial voter ID laws.