Wyoming activists are kicking it into high gear to collect signatures for 2022 ballot initiatives to legalize medical marijuana and decriminalize cannabis possession, with the campaign announcing a series of events this weekend to shore up support.
Weeks after the state attorney general issued ballot summaries for the measures, the secretary of state’s office formally provided petition sheets on Tuesday. Now, advocates will be holding signature gathering events in seven cities across the state on Friday and Saturday.
The campaign, which is being backed by the national Libertarian Party and Wyoming NORML, turned in the requisite 100 initial sponsorship signatures for each measure to the secretary of state last month before being formally cleared by the attorney general’s office.
Here’s the list of signature gathering events the marijuana activists are hosting this weekend:
- Evanston – Hamblin Park, 190 Bear River Dr, Evanston, September 11, 11:00 AM-4:00 PM
- Rawlins – The Grindz, 509 W Cedar St, Rawlins, September 10, 5:30 PM-10:00 PM
- Riverton – Rendezvous at the Riverwalk, Riverton Fairgrounds, September 11, 10:00 AM-3:00 PM
- Green River – Flaming Gorge Harley-Davidson, 440 Uinta Dr. Green River, September 10-11 12:00vPM-6:00 PM
- Cody – City Park, 908 Sheridan Ave, September 11, 11:00 AM
- Cheyenne – Elevate Studios, 1408A E 13th St, September 10, 5:30 PM-9:00 PM
- Casper – Washington Park, Shelter 2, 951 S Jefferson St, September 11, 9:00 AM – 6:00 PM
Activists must collect 41,776 valid signatures from registered voters per measure to qualify for the ballot. To make the November 2022 ballot, they must turn in enough signatures by February of next year. Otherwise, they will have until January 2023 to qualify for a subsequent election.
Here’s the summary language that voters will consider, according to Wyoming NORML.
Wyoming Patient Cannabis Act of 2022
“Shall a law be enacted authorizing the Wyoming Liquor Division to regulate the cultivation, sale, and use of medical marijuana for medical treatment?”
Wyoming Cannabis Amendments
“Shall a law be enacted to reduce criminal penalties for the cultivation, possession, use, and transfer of marijuana?”
This ballot effort launched after state lawmakers advanced—but failed to pass—a bill to legalize marijuana this session.
For the medical proposal, patients would be able to purchase and possess up to four ounces of flower and 20 grams of “medical marijuana-derived products” in a 30-day period.
People with any of more than a dozen qualifying conditions—including cancer, glaucoma, HIV, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease and dementia—would also be able to cultivate up to eight mature plants for personal use.
The Department of Revenue’s Liquor Division would be responsible for licensing marijuana businesses. The division would be required to promulgate rules by July 1, 2023.
The division “shall regulate the acquisition, growth, cultivation, extraction, production, processing, manufacturing, testing, distribution, retail sales, licensing, transportation and taxation of medical marijuana and medical marijuana-derived products and the operation of medical marijuana establishments in a manor that will not prove excessively burdensome for Patients to access medical marijuana or medical marijuana-derived products nor burdensome for licensed healthcare providers to certify their Patients,” the text of the measure states.
Meanwhile, activists’ separate decriminalization measure would impose small fines on people possessing up to four ounces of marijuana, without the threat of jail time. A first and second offense would be considered a misdemeanor punishable by a $50 fine, while a third and any subsequent offense would penalized by a $75 fine. Cultivating marijuana would be punishable by a maximum $200 fine.
People caught in possession of marijuana in excess of the four ounce limit would face a maximum $500 fine. Those who are found to be under the influence of cannabis could be fined $50.
A bill to legalize and regulate cannabis for adult use in Wyoming advanced out of a House committee in March, but it did not move further in the legislature by the end of the session.
A poll released in December found that 54 percent of state residents support allowing “adults in Wyoming to legally possess marijuana for personal use.” Presumably, that would mean that the more moderate proposals stand to pass if they’re certified for the ballot.
Wyoming’s neighbors Montana and South Dakota were among several states that approved marijuana legalization ballot measures in November.
Meanwhile, the Wyoming legalization legislation, which was backed by the Republican chair of the House Judiciary Committee, would have allowed adults 21 and older to purchase and possess up to three ounces of marijuana and cultivate up to 12 mature plants for personal use.
The measure was also cosponsored by the House speaker and other top GOP lawmakers.
Looking ahead to 2022, Wyoming isn’t the only state where voters could soon see cannabis reform on the ballot. Activists in roughly a dozen states are moving to put cannabis legalization proposals directly before voters in 2022.
Nebraska marijuana activists announced on Wednesday that they have turned in a pair of complementary initiatives to legalize medical cannabis that they hope to place on the state’s 2022 ballot.
Ohio activists recently cleared a final hurdle to begin collecting signatures for a 2022 ballot initiative to legalize marijuana in the state.
Missouri voters may see a multiple marijuana initiatives on the state’s ballot next year, with a new group filing an adult-use legalization proposal late last month that could compete with separate reform measures that are already in the works.
Arkansas advocates are collecting signatures to place adult-use marijuana legalization on the ballot.
Activists in Idaho are working to advance separate measures to legalize possession of recreational marijuana and to create a system of legal medical cannabis sales. State officials recently cleared activists to begin collecting signatures for a revised initiative to legalize possession of marijuana that they hope to place before voters on the 2022 ballot. Meanwhile, a separate campaign to legalize medical cannabis in the state is also underway, with advocates actively collecting signatures to qualify that measure for next year’s ballot.
Maryland’s House speaker has pledged that lawmakers will pass legislation to put the question of marijuana legalization before voters as a referendum on the 2022 ballot. She’s formed a cannabis working group to assess the best way to structure the reform, and members held their first meeting on Wednesday.
After a House-passed bill to legalize marijuana in North Dakota was rejected by the Senate in March, some senators hatched a plan to advance the issue by referring it to voters on the 2022 ballot. While their resolution advanced through a key committee, the full Senate blocked it. However, activists with the group North Dakota Cannabis Caucus are collecting signatures to qualify a constitutional amendment to legalize cannabis for the 2022 ballot.
Oklahoma advocates are pushing two separate initiatives to legalize marijuana for adult use and overhaul the state’s existing medical cannabis program.
South Dakota activists recently filed four separate legalization measures with the state Legislative Research Council—the first step toward putting the issue before voters next year if the state Supreme Court upholds a lower court ruling that overturned the legal cannabis measure that voters approved last November.
Wyoming’s attorney general recently issued ballot summaries for proposed initiatives to legalize medical marijuana and decriminalize cannabis possession, freeing up activists to collect signatures to qualify for the 2022 ballot.