Diverse attempts at reform defeated during 2017 session
Last update: September 18, 2017
Numerous marijuana policy reform bills were introduced during the Wyoming Legislature’s 2017 session, which ended on March 3. A decriminalization bill sponsored by Rep. Mark Baker (R-Sweetwater) failed a committee vote despite bipartisan support, and an effort he led with Rep. James Byrd (D-Laramie) to amend the constitution to legalize marijuana was not considered. While a penalty reduction bill, HB 197, passed the House, it was watered-down in the Senate, and the two chambers could not agree, killing the bill.
While the legislature may not know what it wants to do about marijuana policy, an overwhelming majority — 72% of Wyoming voters — do. They want the state to stop sending people to jail for possession of small amounts of marijuana. Click here to let your representatives know you want them to follow the views of their constituents and decriminalize marijuana.
No medical cannabis in the Equality State
Wyoming does allow the use of CBD oil to treat seizures, but provides no legal means of in-state access. Three bills were considered in 2017 that would have expanded this very limited protection: HB 265, sponsored by Rep. Dan Zwonitzer (R-Laramie), would have created a system for doctors to recommend low-THC medical cannabis but did not set up dispensaries; HB 81 would have expanded Wyoming’s existing CBD bill to include dependent adults and any medical conditions; and HB 247 would have allowed out-of-state patients to legally possess their medicine in Wyoming. None of these bills advanced before a legislative deadline on February 3.
Unfortunately, allowing only seizures to be treated under Wyoming law 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. In addition, many patients who do qualify need higher levels of THC than currently allowed. Please encourage your legislators to champion compassion and common sense by supporting effective medical marijuana legislation next year.
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