(Matilde Campodonico, Associated Press file)

Southern surprise: Mississippi lawmakers briefly talk legalizing pot

A bill on penalties for drug crimes gets an amendment for marijuana legalization, something that lawmakers say hasn't been addressed in decades, if ever

JACKSON, Miss. — The Mississippi House has voted against an unexpected question of whether the state should legalize marijuana.

Democratic Rep. Steve Holland of Plantersville offered the legalization question Tuesday during a debate on a bill that would revise penalties for drug crimes.

His amendment failed with 90 votes against and 29 in favor.

Longtime lawmakers say it was the first time in decades, or maybe even ever, for the Mississippi House to vote on the question of legalizing marijuana.

The attempted amendment was on House Bill 701.

Holland says he was trying to reduce the state’s prison costs.