Earlier this month, Wyoming officials announced they had received more than double the amount required to pass two separate initiatives. In the next few weeks, the attorney general will finalize the summary language. If everything goes accordingly, Wyoming could become the 37th state to legalize cannabis.
Over the past few months, advocates have pushed relentlessly to collect more than the 100 signature minimum for the two proposed initiatives. The first one decriminalized cannabis in the state of Wyoming. This means authorities can no longer arrest residents of Wyoming for the possession of cannabis. Instead, officers will hand out written tickets for the possession of up to four grams without the threat of jail time. Fines will be $50 for the first and second offense and $75 for the third. Finally, those found in possession of over four ounces could face a fine of up to $500. The cultivation of cannabis can be punishable by up to $200.
The second initiative would legalize medical cannabis. Anyone with one of the dozen qualifications can use medical cannabis under a doctor’s recommendation. Medical cannabis patients would be able to purchase and possess up to four ounces of flower and 20 grams of cannabis-related products within a 30-day period. Qualifying conditions include cancer, glaucoma, HIV, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, and dementia.
“We know what districts we need to hit,” said Christine Stenquist, the campaign’s senior strategist, to Marijuana Movement. “We know the people who are registered voters were likely to support us. It’s a very surgical campaign.”
Advocates Supporting Cannabis
The initiatives clearly had outpouring support from the community, backed by countless advocates. A few advocates supporting these initiatives include the national Libertarian Party and Wyoming NORML. However, Wyoming advocates must now submit enough petitions to make the 2022 ballot to get the initiative to the next step in the process. They will have 18 months to meet this goal.
“If the ballot measures pass this final hurdle,” a press release from the Libertarian Party said, “Wyoming voters will have a chance to let their voices be heard in November of 2022 by voting to legalize medical cannabis and decriminalize cannabis for personal use.”
If the initiative is ultimately successful, The Department of Revenue’s Liquor Division will become responsible for licensing cannabis businesses. The division would then create an agreeable ruleset by July 1, 2023. Unfortunately, Wyoming will have to jump through a few more hoops before this is even possible.
The division “shall regulate the acquisition, growth, cultivation, extraction, production, processing, manufacturing, testing, distribution, retail sales, licensing, transportation and taxation of medical marijuana and medical marijuana-derived products and the operation of medical marijuana establishments in a manner that will not prove excessively burdensome for Patients to access medical marijuana or medical marijuana-derived products nor burdensome for licensed healthcare providers to certify their Patients,” the text of the measure states.