Wyoming’s marijuana and medical cannabis decriminalization initiatives pass first hurdle in 2022 poll
Two marijuana reform initiatives in Wyoming passed a first hurdle on their way to qualification for the state’s 2022 poll.
Campaigners are looking to put separate measures to legalize medical cannabis and decriminalize adult-use marijuana ahead of voters next year – and the Secretary of State’s office on Friday approved the latest version of their proposed voting language, releasing lawyers to collect the 100 signatures required by initiative to take the next step.
The Libertarian Party and State Representative Marshall Burt (left) teamed up with advocates to unveil first drafts of the proposals in June. The campaign, which is also supported by Wyoming NORML, came after state lawmakers advanced but failed to pass a bill to legalize marijuana this session.
The final text of the medical cannabis proposal states that patients could purchase and own up to four ounces of flowers and 20 grams of “medical marijuana products” over a 30-day period.
People with more than a dozen eligible conditions, including cancer, glaucoma, HIV, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease and dementia, could also grow up to eight mature plants for their personal use.
As part of the medical cannabis initiative, the liquor division of the Department of Revenue would be responsible for licensing marijuana businesses. The division would be required to promulgate rules by July 1, 2023.
The division “will regulate the acquisition, growth, cultivation, extraction, production, processing, manufacture, testing, distribution, retail sales, licensing, transportation and taxation of medical marijuana. and medical marijuana products and the operation of medical marijuana establishments in a mansion that will not prove to be excessively difficult for patients to access medical marijuana or medical marijuana products, nor difficult for accredited health care providers to certify their patients ”, indicates the text of the measure.
Meanwhile, the separate activist decriminalization measure would impose small fines on people with up to four ounces of marijuana, without the risk of jail time. A first and second offense would be considered a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of $ 50, while a third and any subsequent offense would be punishable by a fine of $ 75. Growing marijuana would be fined up to $ 200.
Those caught in possession of marijuana in excess of the four-ounce limit would be subject to a fine of up to $ 500. Those under the influence of cannabis could be fined $ 50.
A drafting error in an earlier version of the proposal which would have removed the threat of a prison sentence for the cultivation of opium and peyote has been corrected in the latter text.
Activists went back and forth with state officials to finalize the wording of the voting measures, submitting three rounds of drafts before landing on the latest drafts. After being approved at the end of last week, the campaign must now collect first 100 valid signatures on each initiative within 30 days to take the next step.
Apollo Pazell, chief campaign strategist, told Marijuana Moment that advocates plan to turn in 200 signatures for each measure by the end of the week to ensure that a sufficient number of collected petitions end up being valid.
For the medical cannabis and decriminalization proposals, petitioners will then have until February 14 to collect 41,775 valid signatures from registered voters to vote.
A bill to legalize and regulate adult cannabis in Wyoming rolled out of a House committee in March, but did not advance through the legislature at the end of the session.
A poll released in December found that 54% of state residents support allowing “adults in Wyoming to legally possess marijuana for personal use.” Presumably, this would mean that the more moderate proposals are accepted if they are certified for the ballot.
Wyoming’s neighbors, Montana and South Dakota, were among several states that approved voting measures to legalize marijuana in November.
Former US Senator and Governor of Rhode Island Lincoln Chafee, who now resides in Wyoming and identifies as a libertarian, is not yet directly involved in this latest marijuana campaign, although he has testified in favor the legalization bill that has advanced in the state this year. .
Laryssa Gaughen, communications director of the National Libertarian Committee, however, told Marijuana Moment that he “generally supports our efforts.”
Meanwhile, House legalization legislation, backed by the Republican chairman of the Judiciary Committee, reportedly allowed adults 21 and older to buy and own up to three ounces of marijuana and grow up to to 12 mature plants for personal use.
The measure was also co-sponsored by the Speaker of the House and other key GOP lawmakers.
Looking ahead to 2022, Wyoming isn’t the only state where voters may soon see cannabis reform on the ballot.
Idaho officials recently allowed activists to start collecting signatures for a revised initiative to legalize possession of marijuana that they hope to present to voters in the 2022 poll.
In South Dakota, activists last month tabled four separate cannabis voting measures for 2022.
Campaigners in North Dakota are developing plans for a marijuana legalization measure after lawmakers failed to pass reform this session.
A Missouri marijuana activist group recently tabled several separate initiatives to put marijuana reform on the state ballot in 2022, a move that comes as other advocacy groups prepare additional efforts to collect signatures for their own cannabis petitions. Meanwhile, other activists are focused on passing a resolution by lawmakers to bring the issue of legalization to voters next year.
Marijuana activists in Nebraska have announced plans for a “large-scale” campaign to put the legalization of medical cannabis on the state ballot in 2022.
Activists in Ohio are awaiting official approval to collect signatures for a statewide voting measure that would effectively force the legislature to consider cannabis reform. Meanwhile, other groups have also recently qualified several measures to decriminalize cannabis to appear on local 2021 ballots.
A newly formed Texas progressive group unveiled a campaign last month to put forward an initiative to decriminalize marijuana possession and outlaw strike warrants in the November poll in Austin.
Advocates are also working to put marijuana initiatives on local ballots in South Carolina and West Virginia.
Meanwhile, the Florida Supreme Court has blocked two cannabis legalization initiatives for which activists had already collected thousands of signatures.
Read the text of Wyoming’s marijuana initiatives below:
Wyoming Marijuana Initiatives by Marijuana Moment
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Photo courtesy of Mike Latimer.