Support Rep. Byrd’s decriminalization bill
The 2014 session started off on a hopeful note for the Cowboy State. Rep. James Byrd introduced a bill that would have replaced criminal penalties for possession of less than an ounce of marijuana with a civil fine similar to a speeding ticket. Possession of up to half an ounce would be punishable by a $50 fine, and possession of between half and one ounce would be punishable by a $100 fine. However, the bill failed to gain support from lawmakers.
Please write to your legislators and encourage them to support sensible reform like Rep. Byrd’s decriminalization proposal. This type of reform is especially important considering 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, 21 states and the District of Columbia now have functional medical marijuana programs. Almost 40% of Americans live in jurisdictions with compassionate medical marijuana laws, yet lawmakers in Wyoming have yet to even debate the issue. Please encourage your legislators to champion 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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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