Cannabis in Wyoming

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Cannabis is strictly illegal in Wyoming. The state has some of the strictest cannabis laws in the United States.[1][2] Cannabis itself is not allowed for medical purposes, but a 2015 law allows limited use of non-psychoactive CBD oil. An effort is ongoing to place two initiatives on the 2022 ballot, one to legalize medical cannabis, and the other to decriminalize personal use.

Possession of under three ounces (85 g) of cannabis is a misdemeanor that can be punished with up to a year in jail and a $1000 fine; possession of over three ounces is a felony.[3]

Prohibition[edit]

Wyoming passed laws banning cannabis in the early 20th century, though sources differ as to the exact date: 1913[4] or 1929.[5]

Medical use[edit]

In July 2015, a law took effect allowing the use of CBD oil to treat seizures. The law is narrow and does not provide for in-state access.[6]

Attempts to change legality[edit]

In 2015, the Wyoming chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) gathered signatures to place legal medical marijuana on the 2016 election ballot as a ballot initiative. Wyoming has some of the most stringent ballot initiative requirements in the country, due to which the state has not seen a public initiative reach the ballot since 1991.[7]

In 2016, legislation in the Wyoming House of Representatives to decriminalize possession of one ounce (28 g) or less of marijuana (sponsored by State Representative James Byrd of Cheyenne) failed for the third year in a row.[8][9]

In 2017, supporters sought 25,000 signatures to put the Peggy A. Kelley Wyoming Cannabis Act of 2016 on the 2018 ballot as a public initiative, but failed to gather the required signatures by the February 14 deadline.[10]

In 2021, a bill was filed by lawmakers that would legalize cannabis both for recreational and medical use. The bill however later died in the Wyoming House of Represenitives after it was missing a deadline.[11]

2022 initiatives[edit]

On June 11, 2021, two ballot initiatives were introduced by the Libertarian Party of Wyoming, one to legalize cannabis for medical use, and another to decriminalize personal use.[12] On August 11, after the certification of an initial 100 signatures, the secretary of state of Wyoming approved the start of general signature-gathering for the initiatives. 41,776 signatures will be required to place each initiative on the 2022 general election ballot.[13] Libertarian State Representative Marshall Burt, who co-sponsored the failed effort to legalize cannabis through an act of the legislature, is supporting the initiatives. Speaking alongside patient advocates and Libertarian National Committee Chair Joe Bishop-Henchman on the steps of the Wyoming Capitol prior to delivering the initiatives to the secretary of state, he said "the Legislature knows that this is coming", and expressed confidence that organizers would be able to collect enough signatures to place the initiatives on the ballot. If the efforts are successful, these would be the first initiatives to appear on a Wyoming ballot in three decades.[14][15]

Polling[edit]

An October 2014 poll of Wyoming residents conducted by the University of Wyoming found that 35% supported legalizing the use of marijuana by adults, while 60% opposed such a measure.[16] However, a large majority favored allowing adults to use marijuana if prescribed by a physician (72% support, 25% oppose).[16] Compared to a previous survey in 2000, the 2014 results showed a modest increase in support for legalized personal marijuana use and no change in support of medical marijuana use.[16] A 2016 study by the University of Wyoming showed that 81 percent of Wyoming residents supported legalizing prescribed medical cannabis.[10]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Tippin, Chilton (January 4, 2015). "Is Wyoming caught in Colorado's hotbox?". Laramie Boomerang. Archived from the original on April 19, 2016.
  2. ^ "Debate looms over legalizing marijuana in Wyoming". Missoulian. Associated Press. December 22, 2013. Archived from the original on February 17, 2014.
  3. ^ "Wyoming Laws & Penalties". NORML. Archived from the original on July 24, 2018.
  4. ^ Boslaugh, Sarah E. (December 8, 2015). The SAGE Encyclopedia of Pharmacology and Society. SAGE Publications. pp. 1758–. ISBN 978-1-5063-4618-2.
  5. ^ Davenport-Hines, Richard (November 29, 2012). The Pursuit of Oblivion: A Social History of Drugs. Orion Publishing Group. pp. 126–. ISBN 978-1-78022-542-5.
  6. ^ "Wyoming". Marijuana Policy Project. Archived from the original on April 17, 2016. Retrieved April 9, 2016.
  7. ^ Gruver, Mead (July 29, 2015). "Wyoming marijuana: State panel studies impact of legalization". The Cannabist. Associated Press. Archived from the original on April 28, 2018.
  8. ^ "WY HB0029 - 2015 - Regular Session". LegiScan.
  9. ^ Brown, Trevor (February 10, 2016). "Marijuana decriminalization bill fails". Wyoming Tribune Eagle. Archived from the original on June 26, 2019. Retrieved June 26, 2019.
  10. ^ a b Ballard, Caroline (February 4, 2017). "Measure To Legalize Marijuana Will Not Appear On 2018 Ballot". Wyoming Public Media. Archived from the original on February 18, 2017. Retrieved February 17, 2017.
  11. ^ March 23, Brendan LaChance on; 2021 (March 23, 2021). "Marijuana legalization dies, missing deadline for consideration in the Wyoming House - Casper, WY Oil City News". Oil City News. Retrieved March 28, 2021.CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  12. ^ Eavis, Victoria; Gerst, Ellen (June 9, 2021). "Organizers announce two marijuana initiatives for 2022 election in Wyoming". Casper Star-Tribune. Retrieved September 25, 2021.
  13. ^ LaChance, Brendan (August 11, 2021). "Wyoming Marijuana Ballot Initiative Petition Signature Collections Get Green Light to Begin". Oil City News. Retrieved September 25, 2021.
  14. ^ Reynolds, Nick (June 28, 2021). "Will Wyoming voters override politicians to legalize marijuana?". WyoFile. Retrieved September 25, 2021.
  15. ^ LaChance, Brendan (June 11, 2021). "Video: Wyoming Voters May Decide on Medical Legalization, Marijuana Decriminalization in 2022". Oil City News. Retrieved September 25, 2021.
  16. ^ a b c "Wyoming Residents Disapprove of Personal Marijuana Use". University of Wyoming. December 3, 2014. Archived from the original on May 29, 2019.