A group wanting to make weed legal in Mississippi could begin as early as next week to collect signatures to have an initiative on the November 2016 ballot seeking to legalize marijuana in the state.

A group wanting to make weed legal in Mississippi could begin as early as next week to collect signatures to have an initiative on the November 2016 ballot seeking to legalize marijuana in the state.

Mississippi for Cannabis filed a petition in late September with the secretary of state's satellite office in Hernando, said petition organizer Kelly Jacobs, a longtime Democratic Party official from Hernando. It was the initial step in the ballot process.

The final process before collecting signatures comes Tuesday when the Secretary of State runs a newspaper ad with language about the ballot initiative title and a summary . "State law requires the Secretary of State's office to publish the ballot title and summary in a newspaper of general circulation throughout Mississippi," Secretary of State spokeswoman Pamela Weaver said.

If the sponsor the ballot or another person is dissatisfied with the ballot title or summary drafted by the Attorney General's office, they have five days from publication to file an appeal in Hinds County Circuit Court. If they approve of the title and summary, they can begin collecting the signatures required to get the initiative on the ballot.

Petition organizers would have to collect the approximately 110,000 signatures needed to get the measure on the November 2016 ballot. Voters would then have to approve it for it to become law.

Jacobs said the ballot initiative proposal would legalize cannabis for adults to own as much as they wish, to use as they wish, just like alcohol or cigarettes.However, it would have to be kept from minors.

"We want to legalize marijuana and decriminalize it," Jacobs said. "It's an adult discussion we should be having."

Contact Jimmie E. Gates at or (601) 961-7212. Follow @jgatesnews on Twitter.

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