Wyoming voters may get the chance to vote on two separate marijuana ballot initiatives next year.
While the text of either 2022 measure has not yet been released, a news advisory from the Libertarian Party, which plans to formally file the proposals on Friday, describes the goal as being to “legalize medical cannabis and decriminalize cannabis for personal use.”
Apollo Pazell, a strategist working on the cannabis campaign for the party, told Marijuana Moment that the medically-focused measure contains a regulatory structure for production and sales, while the separate decriminalization initiative would make it simply so that people would face small fines—and not jail time—for possessing, using or cultivating marijuana.
A bill to legalize and regulate cannabis for adult use in the state advanced out of a House committee in March, but it did not move further in the legislature by the end of the session. Now, state Rep. Marshall Burt (L) is teaming up with the chair of the Libertarian National Committee and other leaders to put reform directly into the hands of voters.
“The Wyoming state legislature has introduced cannabis decriminalization bills on and off for 30 years; however, this year was the first year the legislation was voted out of committee,” the news advisory says. “Unfortunately, the legislative session year ended before the full House could take up the bill for a vote. These ballot initiatives would allow the people of Wyoming to vote on these issues directly in the general election of 2022.”
The measures will be formally submitted to the secretary of state on Friday. After the formatting is approved, petitioners will have until February 14 to collect 41,775 valid signatures from registered voters to make the ballot.
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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 modest 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.
Former U.S. Senator and Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee, who now resides in Wyoming and identifies as a Libertarian, is not yet directly involved in this latest marijuana ballot push, despite having testified in support of the legalization bill that advanced in the state this year. He is “is generally supportive of our effort,” however, Laryssa Gaughen, communications director for the Libertarian National Committee, told Marijuana Moment.
That House legislation, which was backed by the Republican chair of the 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.