FORD/In opposition to Initiative 65

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Serving as your state Representative this past year has been one of the highlights of my life. The trust you placed in me has given me the courage to tackle tough issues and fight for positions that I know are important to our community and state.  That is why I write to you now with a striking sense of urgency to pay close attention to your ballot in a few short weeks.  

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THIS WEEK In favor of Initiative 65 by Jacqueline Temple Rudder

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Today, I am asking you to join me in fighting Initiative 65, a shady attempt to provide safe-harbor for pot usage in our communities, as well as, the addiction-for-profit industry that accompanies it.  Here are just a few protections the marijuana industry will enjoy that our own citizens lack:  

1) Initiative 65 places the regulation of medical marijuana in the State Constitution. Never in the history of our state has a specific industry been regulated in our constitution, and we certainly don’t want to start with an industry like marijuana.  Once it is in the Constitution, it would take another ballot initiative to change or improve the program. We all know that is an ineffective and costly way to manage something as important and controversial as marijuana.

2) The “big-pot” industry will be protected by your constitution from being taxed as any other business would be.  The “sales fee” in Initiative 65 will go to a special fund that will be redirected back to the marijuana industry and away from our communities to defray the inevitable social costs that will plague us.  Neither the state, the municipalities, nor the counties will receive any portion of the “fee” that should aid schools, roads, and law enforcement.  Why should the marijuana industry be exempt when taxes are levied on tobacco, liquor, and over-the-counter medications? 

3) This “addiction-for-profit” industry will have special protection from basic zoning rights of counties and municipalities, stripping citizens of their right to self-govern.  Initiative 65 does not allow cities and counties to control the number of dispensaries or the location of where a plot of pot is grown - it just says it cannot be sold within 500 feet from a church, existing school, or daycare center.  In my humble opinion, that seems extremely close, especially when liquor stores are required to be at least 1,500 feet away.  An unlimited number of pot shops could open in Madison County and throughout our state and no matter how offended you may be, you will have no means of protest because the pot shop will be safely nestled in the arms of our constitution.  

4) The “big pot” industry will enjoy protection from parental controls.  Sensible advertising rules that exist for the alcohol and tobacco industries won’t apply to marijuana.  Under Initiative 65, specific products will be allowed to be marketed on billboards, vehicles, and commercials that will clearly attract kids. Examples include:  ring pops with pot, pot tarts instead of pop tarts, suckers with pot, and gummy bears with pot. Dope will be protected while our children remain vulnerable to temptations that are hardly subtle.  Parents, your hands will be tied because our constitution will give free reign to this “addiction-for-profit” industry.  The quantity allowable is equal to 10 joints a day.

Fellow Mississippians, I plead with you to join me.  Don’t be fooled.  If effective medical marijuana is needed in our state, there are legitimate ways of providing that without re-rewriting our state constitution.  

On Nov. 3, please vote “AGAINST BOTH” and “FOR Alternative 65A” to allow the Legislature to lead us to safe usage of medical cannabis and lucrative tax revenues for our state, municipalities, and counties.  

Good policy is good politics – let’s do this the right way!  

Vote “AGAINST BOTH” and then vote “FOR Alternative Measure No. 65A.”

State Rep. Jill Ford of Madison represeents District 73.


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