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JACKSON, Miss. – Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves on Wednesday signed into law a bill that would legalize medical marijuana for people with debilitating conditions such as cancer, AIDS and sickle cell disease.

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The legislation becomes law immediately, WLOX-TV reported. It could be months before the first marijuana dispensaries open in the state, the television station reported.

“There is no doubt that there are individuals in our state who could do significantly better if they had access to medically prescribed doses of cannabis,” Reeves wrote in a Facebook post. “There are also those who really want a recreational marijuana program that could lead to more people smoking and less people working, with all of the societal and family ills that that brings.

“I thank all of the legislators for their efforts on these improvements and all of their hard work. I am most grateful to all of you: Mississippians who made your voice heard.”

Mississippi’s Senate and House overwhelmingly passed an amended version of the bill last week, the Clarion-Ledger of Jackson reported.

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, Mississippi becomes the 37th state to allow the medical use of cannabis.

“For all the people who are touched in some way by a loved one or someone they know who benefits from medical cannabis, this brings their quality of life back,” Ken Newburger, executive director of the Mississippi Medical Marijuana Association, told The Associated Press.

The final bill differs significantly from the ballot initiative voters approved in November 2020. The initiative would have allowed people to buy up to 5 ounces a month, the AP reported. The state Supreme Court invalidated it six months later by ruling that the state’s initiative process was outdated, adding that the measure was not put properly on the ballot, the Clarion-Ledger reported.

According to the bill Reeves signed on Wednesday, patients can buy up to 3.5 grams of cannabis per day, up to six days a week, the AP reported. That is about 3 ounces per month. The bill also set taxes on the production and sale of cannabis and specifies that plants must be grown indoors under controlled conditions.