GLUCKSTADT, Miss. (WLBT) – With a 3-2 vote, Gluckstadt opted out of the state’s medical marijuana program Tuesday.
They follow the lead of Brandon, Ridgeland, and Pass Christian.
One thing different about Tuesday’s meeting was that Gluckstadt hosted a public hearing before deciding whether or not to allow medical marijuana groceries and dispensaries.
The other aforementioned cities decided without allowing the public to weigh in. Ultimately, the result was the same.
Just before hearing from the public on where they stand with medical marijuana, Gluckstadt’s mayor gave the oath of office to the city’s first-ever police chief. This led some critics of the state’s medical marijuana bill to speak on the potential problems that will be handed off to him if the new industry is welcomed to the city.
“Do you honestly believe that where large amounts of this product go that crime won’t follow? Crime will come to Gluckstadt as a result,” Kevin Bullard said.
Madison County Sheriff Randy Tucker estimated the new law would increase the departments workload by a third.
“The fleas come with the dog,” Tucker said. “It happened in Colorado. The accident ratio of impaired drivers significantly increased.”
On the other hand, advocates of the bill said Gluckstadt will miss out on tons of revenue that the new city could use for development purposes.
“In Colorado, I saw roads be built, schools be built, and academic scholarships created that sent underprivileged kids to college just from cannabis revenue,” David Hand said.
Some feared that if the city later decides to opt back in, they’ll already lose that revenue to neighboring cities.
“If we start to get boxed out by some of these other jurisdictions that stay in, what kind of money could we be missing out on?” Jamar Dawson said.
Madison County resident Michael Hardy, Co-Owner of Magnolia Hemp Company, said the overwhelming support for Initiative 65 speaks for itself. Hardy predicts the board’s decision will ultimately be overturned.
“Mississippians want a medical cannabis program, and I think legislators realized that to the degree that after vetoing 20 proposals, they passed a medical cannabis program within 6 months,” he said.
If residents are able to get signatures from 20% of the population or 1,500 people – whichever is less – then Gluckstadt would hold a special election and residents could overturn Tuesday’s decision.
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