Wyoming cannabis reform activists express they’ve made solid progress in rallying up signatures for a couple of vote initiatives to decriminalize cannabis possession and legalize medicinal cannabis. However, they were able to gain enough to complete the 2022 ballot timeline. They will be focusing on 2024 while at the same time lobbying the legislature to further cannabis reform sooner than later.
Inclement weather, the current COVID-19 pandemic, and delinquent approval for their petitions by Wyoming administrators made the possibility of putting cannabis legalization and decriminalization before its citizens this year particularly contesting.
Apollo Pazell, the lead strategist for the cannabis reform campaign, which is being supported by the national Libertarian Party and Wyoming NORML, informed a known cannabis multimedia network that they’d think about “keeping groups on the ground [to rally signatures] up until the holiday season, and [Wyoming officials] may have made it, but the apprehension was too much in my belief.”
The voting process is especially difficult for cannabis activists in Wyoming, with high threshold provisions for citizen endeavors. To have made this year’s ballot, they would have been required to collect nearly 42,000 verifiable signatures from documented voters per the bill by next month.
Bennett Sondeno from Wyoming NORML informed a known cannabis multimedia network that cannabis activists are roughly 30 percent of the way through that measure, but making the deadline in February is not reachable, so they are looking to turn in the required number of signatures by January of next year to ensure the 2024 ballot.
He expressed, “we will urge for legislative movement this session and following, and fall back to the 2024 Wyoming election if the lawmakers deny enacting something tangible.”
This measure effort debuted after state lawmakers furthered—but failed to enact—a bill to legalize cannabis last year.
Pazell stated that there “was a Hail Mary chance that we could make it in 2022. However, we only had a few Fall months with the weather needed to rally in rural Wyoming, so it was a long shot” to ensure the deadline next month.
For a medicinal proposal, patients would be capable of buying and owning up to four ounces of cannabis and 20 grams of “medicinal cannabis-derived commodities” in a month
Individuals with any of more than a dozen qualifying ailments—including cancer, glaucoma, MS, Parkinson’s disease, and Alzheimer’s—would also be able to grow up to eight mature cannabis plants for private consumption.
The Wyoming Department of Revenue’s Liquor Division would be tasked with retail licensing for cannabis businesses. The faction would be required to create compliance by July 1, 2023.
Individuals found in possession of cannabis more than the aforementioned four-ounce maximum would face an ultimate $500 fine. Those discovered to be under the influence of cannabis could be penalized up to $50.
A measure to legalize and regulate cannabis for adult use in the state was pushed out of a House committee last spring. However, it did not move any further in the Wyoming legislature by the end of the term.
A survey released in Q4 2020 found that more than half of state residents back allowing “adults in Wyoming to own cannabis for private use lawfully.” Assumably, that would mean that the more reasonable drafts stand to enact if they’re cleared for the Wyoming ballot.
The state’s neighbors Montana and South Dakota were among a litany of states where voters backed cannabis legalization ballot measures last fall.
In the meantime, the Wyoming legalization legislation, which was supported by the Republican chair of the House Judiciary Committee, would have permitted adults 21 and older to buy and on up to three ounces of bud and grow up to 12 mature cannabis plants for private consumption.