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Is the Mississippi Legislature playing a shell game with medical marijuana?

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

Mississippians for Compassionate Care gathered more than 228,000 signatures to place a medical marijuana initiative on the ballot for this November’s election.

Up until that point, the Mississippi legislature sat on their hands regarding medical marijuana although 34 states allow its use for myriad medical conditions.

Former Gov. Phil Bryant had led the opposition for any form of marijuana legalization.

Suddenly, after Initiative 65 gained enough traction to be a ballot reality, this past March legislators created a competing initiative that many believe to be an effort to confuse voters and dilute the possible expansion of medical marijuana into Mississippi.

Initiative 65 allows doctors to write prescriptions for up to 22 illnesses including cancer, chronic pain and post-traumatic stress disorder, among others. Patients would be able to acquire up to 2.5 ounces every 14 days.

The competing version would not allow any type of smokable cannabis for patients who are not terminally ill. It also says “the product must be of pharmaceutical quality” without defining how that would be determined.

As it is becoming apparent that the movement to legalize medical marijuana has significant momentum, this week the Senate rules committee drafted a bill that could go to the full legislature next week. The bill is titled “An Act to Establish a Program to Allow the Medical Use of Marijuana by Qualified Persons with Debilitating Medical Conditions.”

Reportedly, the bill will outline how the state would manage medical marijuana under the competing, more restrictive version of the initiative,should that version carry the day.

It remains to be seen how the full state Senate and then the House of Representatives address the issue but expect to see media campaigns from both sides as we move toward the general election.

Mississippians for Compassionate Care is well funded and has done its research. Couple that with the backing of some who feel the legalization for medical use is long overdue, and it should prove to be a hot topic as the November election date draws closer.

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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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