The Mississippi Supreme Court won't be conducting a rehearing in the case that eliminated Initiative 65 and the state's ballot initiative system in its entirety.
The court ruled Thursday that the rehearing request wasn't valid since the two parties asked to participate in the case only after the state Supreme Court struck it down on May 14.
The court ruled that it provided a briefing schedule in November in the case and that briefs by the two parties should've been filed at that time.
The May 28 request for a rehearing was filed by David Allan, the author of proposed Initiative 77 that would've legalized recreational cannabis and the authors of Initiative 78 that would've enshrined early voting in Mississippi. The state, as represented by Secretary of State Michael Watson, declined to join any request for an appeal.
The Legislature is examining whether to enact a medical marijuana program statewide, with the state Senate Public Health and Welfare Committee conducting two hearings on the subject. Consensus on the details of what a program would look like would be required before Gov. Tate Reeves would consider ordering a special session.
Initiative 65 received 57.89 percent of the vote statewide on November 3.
The court decided in favor of the city of Madison and Mayor Mary Hawkins Butler on May 14. The city argued that the ballot initiative was unconstitutional since there are four congressional districts (there were five when the amendment was added to the state constitution) and the number of signatures submitted from at least one of the four districts exceeds the one-fifth of the total number required.
According to the original lawsuit, the state Constitution prohibits the secretary of state from considering any signatures exceeding one-fifth of the total number of signatures required and state law prohibits the secretary of state from putting an initiative on the ballot that doesn’t meet the standard.
By striking down Initiative 65, the court struck down the state's ballot initiative process until lawmakers can fix the language in the ballot initiative law to account for the proper number of congressional district.
The Legislature has proposed seven concurrent resolutions to change the ballot initiative law since 2003 and none have passed. The secretary of state’s office replaced the language of “any congressional district” to “from each of the five congressional districts as they existed in the year 2000” in 2009, a move endorsed by an attorney general's opinion.