From the “there’s more than one way to skin a cat besides choking it on butter” files: Last week Jeremy Bufford, owner of a Florida-based online cannabis school, made a personal pledge to the volunteers working to gather signatures for a ballot measure aimed at legalizing cannabis in Mississippi. During a press conference Bufford promised to pay volunteers for collecting signatures, offering $1 for each “certified” signature obtained across the state of Mississippi, and he put a $2 bounty on signatures from voters in the Mississippi Delta region. In addition Bufford committed to providing a $30,000 minimum grand prize to the group that obtains the most overall signatures.
While announcing the incentives to a group of volunteers Bufford stated that there were “significant restrictions” attached to the offer, which are detailed on this page. “There are a couple of other significant restrictions on what we are talking about here today. I have a list of those and they’re still being reviewed by our council.”
Is pay-for-signatures legal?
During the announcement Bufford fielded a question from a volunteer who asked if he had actually spoken to anyone in the Attorney General’s office and confirmed that paying volunteers to gather petition signatures was not against the law. Bufford stated that there was a law on the books that makes it unlawful to buy petition signatures, but that the law was struck down in a 1997 case.
“There actually is a law on the books that says you can’t do it. There was a case in 1997 that struck that down and called that law unconstitutional. And so at this point in time while we’re still reviewing this with our legal council it’s our understanding that we’re moving forward that the idea that it is legal to do so.
New Campus in Mississippi
In addition to his pay-per-signature announcement Bufford also announced that his company was looking to make a real estate deal somewhere near Jackson in order to relocate his school to Mississippi. Courses will range from $99 to 399, and the school also plans to offer 2-year Associates degrees and 4-year Bachelor degrees, as well as meal plans and on-campus housing.
When asked about which accrediting organization would be signing off on the school, Bufford said that accreditation is typically a lengthy process and that they were still evaluating organizations. He said most accrediting organizations want a school to be in operation for a minimum of two years before beginning the vetting process.
Bufford said the Mississippi campus will start with a small enrollment of 10 or so students per semester to start.
- Medical Marijuana United
- Mississippi Alliance for Cannabis
- One of the Boldest Cannabis Initiatives in History is Taking Place Right Now in Mississippi
Watch the announcement below (33:10)