The legislature convened for its 2024 budget session on February 12, and lawmakers have introduced a bill (HB 204) to decriminalize cannabis possession.
The bill would make possession of up to three ounces of cannabis a civil offense punishable by up to a $100 fine. Under current law, possession of up to three ounces or less of cannabis is a misdemeanor punishable by up to 12 months imprisonment and up to a $1,000 fine.
The legislature’s budget session is short, adjourning March 8. Since it is a budget session, all non-budget bills, including HB 204, need a 2/3 majority vote to pass.
Wyoming is one of 19 states that still imposes jail time for simple cannabis possession. A strong majority of Wyoming residents support decriminalizing cannabis possession. Please reach out to your lawmakers and ask them to support HB 204 this session.
ACLU study shows staggering racial disparities in cannabis arrests
According to a 2018 ACLU study, Wyoming ranks ninth in the nation for the greatest racial disparities in cannabis possession arrests. Black individuals in Wyoming are 5.2 times more likely to be arrested for cannabis possession as whites, despite similar usage rates.
Lawmakers recently introduced two proposals that would change that. HB 106 would decriminalize small amounts of cannabis for adults, while HB 143 would establish a medical cannabis program for patients with serious health conditions in the state. Both bills would reduce senseless arrests for cannabis and make Wyoming a more just state to live in.