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Competing medical marijuana initiative could kill any chance to change the law, critics say

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(Photo by Thayne Tuason CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=66310058)

Advocates for allowing the use of medical marijuana in Mississippi say that Republican legislators are deliberately attempting to confuse voters.

Mississippians for Compassionate Care gathered more than 228,000 signatures to put Initiative 65 on the November ballot to give voters the opportunity to legalize the use of medical marijuana. The initiative would ask the question “Should Mississippi allow qualified patients with debilitating medical conditions, as certified by Mississippi licensed physicians, to use medical marijuana?”

Yesterday, the state House of Representatives passed a bill to put a slightly different initiative on the ballot. That initiative, as outlined in HCR 39, would read as follows: “Shall Mississippi establish a program to allow the medical use of marijuana products by qualified persons with debilitating medical conditions?”

Advocates for the original initiative say there’s no reason for the second initiative other than to confuse voters and split the votes, which would kill both initiatives. To pass, an initiative would need 40% of the total votes cast.

“If this passes, there will be two initiatives on the ballot in November on medical marijuana,” Ocean Springs Mayor Shea Dobson told WXXV. “The first one will be the one that we got all the signatures for and the second one will be this competing amendment. If neither one of them get the required votes to pass, then they will both die, and then Mississippi will not have medical marijuana—which is their real goal.”

Backers of the new initiative say their bill has a better program for legalizing medical marijuana in the state.

After a heated debate on the House floor, the resolution for the competing ballot initiative passed 72-49.

Mississippi is one of about 10 states where marijuana use remains illegal for all purposes, although possession penalties for first-time offenders have been reduced to a fine instead of jail time.

The resolution now goes to the Mississippi Senate.

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Vehicle takes out hydrant and utility pole

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Photo by David Day

A single vehicle collision has taken out a fire hydrant and a utility pole on Cherry at Baum.

Photo by David Day

At 10:40 p.m. E-911 Dispatch received a call that a dark blue Kia SUV had impacted a utility pole on Cherry Street near East. The first officer on scene called in that a fire hydrant had also been impacted and that water was gushing into the roadway.

Photo by David Day

Neither the driver or the passenger of the Kia was injured however a man was taken into custody at the scene.

No disruption of utility services in the area was noted and that traffic was flowing smoothly.

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Crime

High speed chase ends in fiery crash

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(photo by David Day)

A high-speed chase Saturday evening that began near the Waffle House in Vicksburg has ended in a crash in Claiborne County and a vehicle in flames.

First reports indicate the incident began around 5:10 p.m. as an argument at the Waffle House at 4100 Pemberton Square Blvd. A man and woman left the scene and stopped at a Shell gas station on U.S. Highway 61 South where the man pulled the woman, who is pregnant, out of the vehicle by her hair.

The man, Bojara O’Quinn of Claiborne County, then fled, leading Vicksburg police officer Michael Battle on a high-speed chase south on 61 South. The chase exceeded 110 mph at times.

The chase ended just inside the Claiborne County line on Shiloh Road in a crash where the vehicle, reportedly a rental with Illinois plates, burst into flames. The crash occurred right at 5:30 p.m.

O’Quinn is in custody and received minor injuries in the crash. The woman involved received very minor injuries and is apparently safe.

Deputies with the Claiborne County Sheriff’s Department, and troopers with the Mississippi Highway Patrol assisted in O’Quinn’s capture.

Bojara O’Quinn (photo by David Day)

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Crime

Woman in custody for Friday’s shooting over a parking space

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UPDATE: Akeyah Daniels, 26, of Vicksburg, appeared before Judge Penny Lawson on Saturday in Vicksburg Municipal Court. Lawson set her bond at $50,000 and bound her over to the Warren County grand jury.

Original story:

The woman is in custody in connection with a shooting that occurred Friday, allegedly over a parking space.

The shooting took place around 3:30 p.m. Friday at an apartment building at 2230 Grove St. in Vicksburg.

Akeyah Daniels, 26, turned herself in to Vicksburg police officers at 1:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 28. She was arrested at the police station.

Three men were also briefly detained and released in connection with the shooting, according to the Vicksburg police.

Daniels faces one count of drive-by shooting is being held without bond until her initial appearance, which is taking place Saturday.

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