CMSD Superintendent voices concerns on medical marijuana

COLUMBUS, Miss. (WCBI) – The deadline for cities or counties to opt out of the Medical marijuana law is less than two weeks away.

In order to opt-out, community leaders must actually vote no. A “no” vote would keep medical marijuana out of the town or the county.

This week Columbus Mayor Keith Gaskin asked the city’s top educator for her assessment.

May 3rd is the last day for towns in Mississippi to opt-out of the new medical marijuana bill.

The City Council in Columbus is asking for opinions as they make their decision.

That’s one reason Columbus Schools Superintendent Dr. Cherie Labat was invited to share her thoughts on staying in – or opting out of the new law.

“The medical marijuana bill opens this up to anyone who has the money in an open entry market without, I feel, open regulations,” said Dr. Labat.

Dr. Labat says that she isn’t against medical marijuana when used properly. But she says she worries it may fall in the wrong hands.

“Kids are not supposed to drink until they’re 21. There are a lot of things that they shouldn’t do until their the age of majority in the state. However, I feel that when medical marijuana or forms of marijuana in candy edible forms like brownies cookies and potato chips, and candy are open to people that are not pharmacists and even though it’s regulated with 500 pages of legislation it is still out there and it is much like alcohol,” said Dr. Labat.

Dr. Labot says she believes elected leaders in Columbus should analyze the grey area of the law.

” I think the edible form is kid-friendly and I think we have issues regulating the THC levels as the competition becomes stronger and I think it will become a grey line between recreational use and medical use,” said Dr. Labat.

Mayor Keith Gaskin says he appreciates Dr. Labot’s opinion.

And he says the board will watch closely the way this law will affect families and others in the city.

“Her concerns are that people who are not intended to get it don’t get it and I think that is something that we are to be diligent about, ” said Mayor Gaskin.

Mayor Gaskin says that he believes Columbus still plans to move forward with medical marijuana.

“We’re going to continue to look at those closely and try to make the best decisions that we can for the citizens of Columbus but I don’t see any indication from the council that they are preparing to opt out,” said Mayor Gaskin.

That 500-page law that Dr. Labot mentioned includes regulations for people who want to sell, grow or test medical marijuana.

Applications will go to the Mississippi Department of Health beginning in June for licensing.

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