State laws change with the times for a number of reasons. Technology, community values, and community awareness are just some of the reasons why we see law changes happening in Mississippi. As technology progresses, community values change, and state residents become more informed with relevant issues that impact the masses, state legislators need to ensure the existing laws are changed as needed and that new laws are enacted to protect people and their rights.
If you reside in Mississippi, it’s important to have a comprehensive understanding of the laws that impact your everyday life and the lives of those around you. In the coming year, you can expect changes regarding prohibition, medical marijuana, and the state flag. Let’s take a look at what’s likely to happen.
Ending Prohibition in Mississippi
After nearly 90 years since alcohol was legalized in the United States, Mississippi is officially ending Prohibition. Under the current law, Mississippi is considered a completely dry state. That, however, will change on January 1, 2021.
Local governments held elections where residents decide if they wanted to allow liquor in their county or city or not. Most voted in favor of it, with only 29 out of 82 counties still being dry in Mississippi. The last state repeal of its statewide Prohibition law was in 1966.
The new law will let countries decide if they want to legalize liquor sales. The distribution of alcohol in Mississippi is state-controlled. The Mississippi Department of Alcohol Beverage Control imports, stores, and sells approximately 2,850,000 cases of spirits and wine on an annual basis.
Medical Marijuana Updates
Two versions of a medical marijuana amendment are on the November 3, 2020 ballot. If an amendment is approved, the changes would take place come 2021. Initiative 65 is an indirect initiated constitutional amendment, while Alternative 65 is referred to alongside Initiative 65 as an alternative measure by the state legislature.
Voting for Amendment 65 supports approving the medical marijuana amendment that would allow medical marijuana treatment for more than 20 specified qualifying conditions. In addition to that, it would allow individuals to possess up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana at a time and tax marijuana sales at the current state sales tax rate of 7%.
Voting for Alternative 65A supports restricting smoking marijuana to terminally ill patients. In addition to that, it would require pharmaceutical-grade marijuana products and treatment oversight by licensed physicians, nurses, and pharmacists, as well as leave tax rates, possession limits, and other details to be set by the legislature.
Changes to the State Flag
In June 2020, Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves signed a bill into law that changed the state flag by removing the Confederate battle emblem. The measure was fast-tracked and passed with a House vote of 91-23 and a Senate vote of 37-14.
The decision to change the flag after more than 100 years came, according to CNBC, after a new reckoning of racial inequality in America. Protesters across the country have demanded systemic changes in policing while seeking to remove symbols of oppression—including the Confederate battle emblem.
The current flag was adopted in February 1894 and features red, white, and blue stripes with the Confederate battle emblem in the corner. The bill calls for the formation of a commission to lead a flag redesign. The plan is to keep the slogan “In God We Trust,” while eliminating the Confederate symbol.
The redesign should be on the November 2020 ballot. In the event voters reject the new flag, the commission will try again and that design will be presented to the Legislature during the 2021 session. If the flag is approved by voters, it will be adopted come the new year.
New Year, New Laws
While the laws discussed above are not set in stone for 2021, understanding the potential changes can give you a solid idea of where the state is headed and what residents can expect in the future. It’s more than likely that you’ll see more law changes come to the New Year and as 2021 progresses, which is why it’s important to vote and ensure your voice is heard regarding the issues that impact your life the most.
In the event you’d like to learn more about the 2021 law changes in Mississippi, or you’re concerned about the potential impact on your personal injury claim, get in touch with Corban Gunn, Attorney at Law today. As a personal injury attorney representing those who have been wronged in Mississippi, Corban Gunn stays informed and up-to-date on all state and federal law changes.