The backers of a medical marijuana initiative on the November ballot in Mississippi have received a cease-and-desist letter from President Trump’s reelection campaign ordering the group to stop using the president’s name in literature backing the measure. The letter was sent to Mississippians for Compassionate Care, the group backing Initiative 65, in response to a campaign mailer sent to Republican voters.
“Join President Trump and 3 out of 4 Mississippi Republicans who support medical marijuana,” read a message on the outside envelope of the campaign mail, according to a report from NBC News.
Inside the envelope, a letter said that “President Trump Supports Medical Marijuana … and allowing states to decide on that issue.”
The mailing drew the attention of Michael Glassner, the Trump campaign’s chief operating officer, who sent a cease-and-desist letter to Missippians for Compassionate Care on October 12. The letter was then released to the press on Tuesday by opponents of Initiative 65.
“This unauthorized use of the President’s name in support of your group’s cause is unfair to Mississippi voters who may be led to vote ‘Yes’ on Initiative 65 on the false belief that President Trump supports the measure,” Glassner wrote. “Therefore, let us be clear about this: President Trump has never stated his support for passage of Initiative 65 or the legalization of medical marijuana in Mississippi.”
Two Initiatives Compete For Approval
Voters in Mississippi will see two different medical marijuana initiatives on the general election ballot. In addition to Initiative 65, which was placed on the ballot by an initiative petition, voters will see Initiative 65A, a more restrictive measure that was written by state lawmakers in response to 65.
Jamie Grantham, communications director for Mississippians for Compassionate Care, said in a statement Tuesday that Trump’s position on medical marijuana had been accurately portrayed in the mailing. She also said that “politicians and bureaucrats” opposed to Initiative 65 had “clearly orchestrated this letter from the Trump campaign.”
“It’s just the latest example of the lengths to which they will go to prevent any form of medical marijuana in Mississippi,” Grantham said. “President Trump himself has said he supports medical marijuana and is letting the states decide.”
“It’s nothing President Trump has not said,” Grantham noted. “The quotes are verbatim what has come out of his mouth.”
But Jim Perry, a board member of the Mississippi Department of Health and a supporter of the competing Initiative 65A, said that the president has not specifically weighed in on Mississippi’s medical marijuana measures.
“I am very doubtful that President Donald Trump has looked at all the details of Initiative 65, and for the campaign that’s pushing this to spend millions of dollars to insinuate otherwise is their effort to pull a fast one on the people of Mississippi,” Perry said.
“President Trump also said publicly that he is against the idea of using ballot initiatives to legalize marijuana,” Perry added. “The Compassionate Care leaders didn’t mention that.”
Voting on the Mississippi medical marijuana initiatives will be a two-step process for voters. First voters will be instructed to “Vote for approval of either, or against both.” The ballot then requests voters to choose either 65 or 65A. Voters who vote against approval will still be permitted to select between the two initiatives.