With Mississippi poised to pass medical cannabis into state law, some state lawmakers are concerned the proposed program may not give Black farmers a fair shake at the magnolia state's new supposed cash crop.
"It's going to be difficult for Black farmers because of the investment it will take to get started," said state Sen. Barbara Blackmon, D-Canton.
The Mississippi Legislative Black Caucus held hearings in the state Capitol Tuesday about the proposed medical cannabis program, centering the discussion about how it may impact people of color in the state. The caucus consists of most of Mississippi's elected Democrats, and while the political party holds little power in the Capitol, Black people account for nearly 38% of the state's population.
Caucus members mainly seemed concerned about the language of the proposed cannabis bill requiring all cannabis growing to take place in indoor facilities. Larry Walker, director emeritus of the National Center for Natural Products Research at the University of Mississippi, told lawmakers it would cost a significant amount of money for anyone to get set up with the necessary infrastructure to grow cannabis inside.
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