The federal law that governs marijuana cultivation and use has become a headache for the state, with lawmakers grappling with how to keep it under control and who will enforce it.
The latest development came Tuesday when the Trump administration announced it would withhold federal funds for the University of Mississippi’s law school if the school doesn’t implement a “weed-friendly” marijuana policy.
The Trump administration has been trying to keep the federal government out of the marijuana industry.
It recently issued a memorandum instructing states to “prevent the sale, possession, cultivation, and use of marijuana” in their states, which is intended to discourage people from driving with marijuana in their system.
But the memorandum also says states can still implement marijuana laws if they want to.
Mississippi lawmakers, however, are in a tricky position because of their history with the drug.
In the 1960s, Mississippi passed a law that banned the use of the drug, but later loosened the restrictions after the state began growing hemp, the fiber made from marijuana plants.
The U.S. Supreme Court in 2000 struck down the ban, and a federal appeals court reinstated it in 2014.
But it was a major win for state leaders who say it has been a success in the fight against drug use.
“Marijuana is no longer a controlled substance,” Mississippi Gov.
Phil Bryant said last month.
“If you look at our state budget, we have more than enough money to fund this program and we’re not going to let that go.”
State Rep. Michael McElroy, the only Republican in the state House, said the move is a “very big deal.”
“The federal government has a lot of power, but the state of Mississippi is going to have to deal with it,” McElroirs statement read.
“I know that it’s going to be a tough pill to swallow, but this is something we have to get this done.
If the feds can’t come into Mississippi and do this, then it’s the state’s responsibility to protect our citizens.”
A spokesman for the Department of Justice didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.