RUDDER/In support of Initiative 65

RUDDER/In support of Initiative 65


I remember when we got the phone call about my husband’s father, Ed, who we call Opa. 

Opa coached high school sports and retired after 35 years as a school principal. After his annual check-up, he received a call to come in for more tests that showed he was dying of pancreatic cancer. 


LAST WEEK In opposition to Initiative 65 by Rep. Jill Ford


The treatment began immediately, and so did the side effects. He began to waste away. The oxycontin made him sick. The marinol prescribed for nausea was useless. His oncologist actually suggested marijuana for the chemo side effects. 

As an attorney, my husband knew possession of marijuana, even for his sick father, could be a serious criminal offense. Opa suffered greatly before passing away. He left behind his high school sweetheart and wife of 47 years, two children, and two grandchildren. A year later my cousin, Connie, also died of pancreatic cancer, orphaning two young children.

My husband and I turned our grief into action by taking our boys door to door in Madison and Rankin counties sharing Opa’s and Connie’s stories and asking people to sign petitions for Initiative 65. 

Nine out of ten signed and many shared stories with us – nurses and doctors, students and teachers, and parents or children of the very sick. You all had a reason, over 220,000 reasons to sign your name.

I’m a wife and a stay-at- home mom. I’m not a politician and giving sick Mississippians medical options shouldn’t be politicized. This is a humanitarian mission. Without access to medical marijuana, thousands will continue to needlessly suffer through cancer, MS, epilepsy, and Parkinson’s. They’ve waited years for the Legislature to bring medical marijuana to Mississippi, but their Alternative 65A doesn’t protect these patients. But let’s be truthful – 65A isn’t meant to bring medical marijuana to anyone.

Watching my own State Repr. Jill Ford spread lies and propaganda on Facebook has been disappointing. 

When asked, “how can we vote on 65A when nothing is defined?” Ford replied, “Honestly we had to act quickly for you and the people of Mississippi.” In other words: we, the Legislature, had to throw 65A together to make the ballot confusing so voters won’t know how to vote. We had to take the fair yes or no vote away for your own good. I asked Representative Ford about purposely misleading her constituents. She replied by accessing and posting the last 19 years of my and my husband’s voting record on her Facebook page. This is who we should trust?

Here’s the truth about 65 and the politicians’ 65A:

1) Initiative 65 is the only way our sick will have access to medical marijuana. 65A is not a plan for medical marijuana; it’s another attempt to prevent medical marijuana by our elected officials.

2) Initiative 65 was put on the ballot with more than 220,000 signatures on petitions. Why? Because the Legislature has had 20+ years to pass a medical marijuana program, and they’ve blocked every single proposed bill that’s ever crossed their desks.

3) Initiative 65 is well-researched, based on the best practices of 34 other states, and has a list of medical conditions. 65A was thrown together to confuse voters and has no list of medical conditions.

4) 65 and 65A are both constitutional amendments. This is a good thing. It protects us from the Legislature using our healthcare as a political pawn.

5) A medical marijuana dispensary is not going to pop up in your neighborhood unless your neighborhood already allows businesses like pharmacies; if you can’t have a Walgreen’s in your neighborhood, then you won’t have a dispensary.

6) Liquor stores can be 400 feet from our schools and churches. A dispensary must be at least 500. If sick people are getting treatment, why do we care?

Vote to give doctors options. On your ballot, vote twice – for approval of either measure AND for Initiative Measure 65.

Jacqueline Temple Rudder is from Madison.

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