It will now be up to the Secretary of State to determine whether to allow voters to decide if Medical Marijuana should be legalized in Mississippi. Mississippians for Compassionate Care had been given a September 6th deadline to get 86-thousand signatures for the proposal to appear on the 2020 election ballot. Last Friday, county clerks across the state had approved 105-thousand signatures. Medical marijuana is legal in 33 states and the District of Columbia.
Authorities in Jackson County arrested a 14-year-old boy Saturday following reports that the teen had made threats against his school. Sheriff's investigators say they took the action after discovering that the boy reportedly posted on social media, that he was going to "shoot up the school Monday." The teen is being held at the Jackson County Detention Center facing charges of making a terrorist threat. Police have not released his name.
Narcotics agents in Hancock County say they've busted up an extensive marijuana growing operation that may be the source of vaping products in local high schools. Thirty-five-year-old Matthew John Ford was arrested last Thursday and charged with several felony counts of illegal drug trafficking. Agents also seized a number of marijuana plants and more than 200 vape cartridges.
The CDC is investigating five deaths and more than 450 cases of severe lung disease in 33 states that are blamed on vaping. Deaths linked to the lung illness have been confirmed in Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, Oregon and California. The CDC believes those cases are associated with chemical exposure. Federal health officials are urging people to stop using e-cigarettes, especially young people and pregnant women.
A Hancock County sheriff's deputy accused of firing a warning shot during a domestic disturbance is free on bond after being arrested over the weekend. The unidentified deputy is on administrative leave during the investigation. The incident happened at his home in Kiln.
Six people drowned Sunday in Mississippi, three in a boating accident in Madison County and three in a car that sank in the Mississippi River in Tunica. Two of the victims were fishing in a pond near a landfill northwest of Jackson when one fell out, then the boat overturned. A witness swam out to help but he drowned along with two of the three people who were in the boat. In Tunica Sunday morning, a woman who had taken some family members and a friend to work at a casino ran off the road as she was leaving and the SUV wound up in the Mississippi River. She's believed to have drowned along with her friend's two-year-old son and five-year-old daughter. The vehicle has been located about 100 feet from the riverbank in about 30 feet of water. Recovery operations are continuing.
A sting operation aimed at human trafficking in the Pine Belt has led to the arrest of five men on solicitation of prostitution charges. A task force says the men were taken into custody at a Hattiesburg motel over the weekend. Because many human trafficking victims are forced into the sex trade, investigators say targeting the prostitutes' customers is one way to attack the problem.
The cheapest gas in America? It's in Mississippi again. We've been going back and forth with Louisiana for the past few weeks for the lowest pump prices. And Triple A says the average price in Mississippi has dropped almost two cents since last week and is now six-tenths of a cent lower than Louisiana- and almost 40 cents cheaper than the national average. The auto club says we're paying about 14 cents less than we were a month ago and 37 cents less than the average price in Mississippi in September of last year.
For further discussion of these stories and more, here's behind-the-scenes video of this Sep. 9 edition of "Gulf Coast Mornings with Kelly Bennett and Uncle Henry":