Wyoming lawmakers fail to discuss sensible marijuana policy reform
The Wyoming Legislature adjourned without discussing any sensible reforms of the state’s draconian marijuana laws. Lawmakers should be encouraged to review outdated and failed policy in light of the ever-growing public support for reform. In November, voters in neighboring Colorado and Washington approved ballot measures legalizing marijuana for adults 21 and older and replacing prohibition with regulation. At the very least, legislators should consider introducing legislation to replace criminal penalties for mere possession with a civil fine, a move that is all the more important in light of the racial disparity found in marijuana possession arrests. According to the ACLU, African-Americans in Wyoming are 3.2 times more likely to be arrested for simple possession than their white neighbors despite similar rates of marijuana use.
In addition to the victories in Colorado and Washington, the voters of Massachusetts voted overwhelmingly to pass a medical marijuana initiative protecting the seriously ill in that state that use medical marijuana with their physicians’ recommendations. Roughly a third of Americans now live in jurisdictions with compassionate medical marijuana laws, yet lawmakers in the “Equality State” have yet to even debate the issue. Please encourage your legislators to champion for compassion and common sense by submitting a medical marijuana bill.
As we try to protect seriously ill patients from arrest, it is very important that Wyoming legislators hear from community opinion leaders on the issue. If you are a patient, a medical professional, a law enforcement official, or a clergy member, please email email@example.com to see how you can be of special help.
Wyoming's marijuana laws
Under current Wyoming law, a person who is arrested for possession of up to an ounce of marijuana faces up to a year in jail and/or a $1,000 fine! To learn more about all of Wyoming's marijuana laws, please see Dr. Jon Gettman, Ph.D.'s Wyoming-specific report. Please ask your legislators to allow Wyoming law enforcement to get their priorities straight; ask them to end marijuana prohibition entirely.
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