Another southern state with lawmakers who believe that cannabis has no place in medicine is going to get the chance to change their minds and legalize medical marijuana. Mississippi State Representative Joel Bomgar has just introduced House Bill 179, also known as the “Mississippi Medical Marijuana Pilot Program Act”.
If passed, the bill would create a complete medical marijuana program, allowing people with certain conditions – including cancer, glaucoma, spastic quadriplegia, HIV/AIDS, seizures, ALS, Crohn’s disease, MS, ulcerative colitis, and intractable pain – to access full strength medical marijuana with a doctor’s recommendation.
For some Mississippi patients, the wait for medical marijuana is simply taking too long – and there’s no longer a guarantee that they won’t be forced to move in order to seek a safer and healthier treatment. In 2014, the state passed what they called “Harper Grace’s Law”, which allows children with epilepsy to be treated with cannabis oil.
“If it doesn’t become available soon, we will be moving,” said Harper Grace’s mother, Ashley Peszynski Durval. “We can’t wait forever. I just hate it didn’t happen fast enough for Harper Grace and all the others who are waiting.”
That 2014 law still has yet to go into effect and actually benefit anyone, including Harper Grace herself. They are currently awaiting approval from the FDA, the DEA and the National Institute of Drug Abuse in order for them to even start their clinical trials. Until then, patients must wait, or hope lawmakers approve the Medical Marijuana Pilot Program Act this spring.
Unfortunately, the state doesn’t appear to want to budge when it comes to this issue – not even allowing patients access prior to being granted government approval. While they could all agree that it was wrong to deny children this medicine when passing the bill, that compassion has been far from mirrored when it comes to actually getting the medicine to them.
“We understand the urgency and immediate need for improved treatments and are moving forward under that motivation. At the same time, our efforts are balanced by great measures of care, safety and compliance with current laws and the safety of the patients,” UMMC said.
If the Medical Marijuana Pilot Program Act does somehow pass, it would only allow cannabis products that cannot be smoked (edibles, capsules, creams, lotions, etc.) – but it would definitely be a start. It’s sad that even Bomgar, who introduced the bill, does not expect it to gain much traction in legislature – but even getting the discussion rolling again, and never giving up on it, is better than standing by and doing nothing while thousands suffer every day.