Increase in penalties for possession avoided this session
Last update: August 17, 2016
A bill was introduced in Wyoming’s 2016 legislative session to make the possession of edible forms of marijuana a felony instead of a misdemeanor where the weight of the entire brownie (or other edible product) was above a certain amount. After controversy erupted over the appropriate threshold amount, which was only three ounces in one version of the bill, and whether the potency of the edibles should be considered, the bill died. The issue is being discussed during the interim session and will likely come up again in 2017.
Rep. James Byrd again introduced a bill to replace criminal penalties for marijuana possession with a more sensible civil fine, but it did not advance this year. 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.
No medical cannabis in the Equality State
A bill sponsored by Rep. Robert McKim, which became law in July 2015, allows the use of CBD oil to treat seizures. However, it does not contain any provision for in-state access and leaves many patients behind; only 2.5% of registered patients in Colorado and less than 1% of patients in Arizona list seizures as their qualifying condition. Wyoming did not have any bills introduced this year that would have provided full access to medical marijuana. Please encourage your legislators to champion compassion and common sense by submitting a medical marijuana bill in 2017.
A local organization, Wyoming NORML, tried to get an initiative on the 2016 ballot that would have allowed patients to use all types of medical marijuana, but fell short. The group’s efforts are continuing, with the goal of collecting enough signatures to get on the ballot in 2018.
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