Winona City Council considering opting out of medical marijuana law

WINONA, Miss. (WCBI) – The mayor of Winona says the city council is leaning towards opting out of Mississippi’s medical marijuana law.

“I’ve talked to a local pharmacist, I’ve talked to a local doctor, and they’re all not for it,” says Mayor Aaron Dees.

Mayor Dees says he and members of the city council have received conflicting reports on the specifics of the Mississippi Medical Cannabis Act.

“Each adult aged 18 and above can grow up to three mature plants and three immature plants,” the mayor said, listing one of his reported concerns.

However, the law states that neither patients nor caregivers are allowed to grow their own marijuana.

“Am I going to be able to get it in pill form? Am I going to be able to get it in any other form or do I have to smoke it only, ”Mayor Dees asks.

The law includes oils, extracts, pills and beverages in the definition of “Cannabis Products.”

After the bill was signed into law on February 2nd, local governing bodies had 90 days to decide whether or not to opt-out.

The mayor says local law enforcement strongly opposes it.

“Law enforcement feels like it’s going to leave the door open for more crime,” Mayor Dees says. “People who have the card, who’s to say there’s not some sort of way to duplicate that card?”

However, several Winona residents say they support having the medical marijuana program available in the city.

“I think the city should consider bringing it here,” says Tanika Hardiman. “From what I’ve been seeing on the news and stuff, it actually helps people that are critically ill.”

“God made that, so it’s going to do us some good,” says Robert Herron. “It’s not like doing drugs or you can get addicted to it, like pills and anything like that.”

Mayor Dees says he is in favor of the medicinal use of cannabis as long as there is proper oversight.

“I’m all for it if it’s going to help a cancer patient,” he says. “I’m for it if you can get it in some form that they’re willing to use. I’m for it if you got a card and you can use it for that reason. “

But they will need to make a decision one way or the other before May 3, 2022.

“At this point, we have not opted in or opted out,” Mayor Dees says. “We know we are rapidly approaching that deadline though. So we definitely got to make a decision. ”

The Winona City Council has its next meeting scheduled for March 15th.