Wyoming Marijuana Decriminalization May Finally Happen in 2017

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wyoming marijuana decriminalization could finally happen in 2017

Wyoming is a state that has not been friendly to the idea of marijuana reform. Despite neighboring Colorado, where weed has been legal since 2014, lawmakers in Wyoming have been resistant to make any changes to the law when it comes to marijuana. In the last few years, legislators have voted against several marijuana bills including bills for decriminalizing small quantities of marijuana and one that would allow medical cannabis patients with cards from other states to possess their marijuana whilst in Wyoming. Lawmakers are hoping, however, that 2017 will be different and multiple bills are being proposed that relate to Wyoming marijuana.

The New Wyoming Marijuana Decriminalization Bill

not first attempt at wyoming marijuana decriminalization proposal
This is not Wyoming’s first attempt at decriminalization.

Once again, a bill for decriminalization is being presented. It would make anything up to 3 ounces of flower, 3/10 of a gram of oil and up to 3 ounces or 500 milligrams of edibles a civic offense, warranting a $200 fine. After 3 offenses, a person would be charged criminally and receive a $5000 fine and up to 5 years in prison. Currently, even the smallest amount of marijuana possession is a criminal offense, punishable with a $1000 fine and up to a year in prison. There may have been difficulty in the past pushing this bill through but legislators aren’t giving up. A University of Wyoming poll showed that 72 percent of residents are in favor of decriminalization. 81 percent are in support of medical marijuana and 41 percent are in favor of legalizing the plant for personal adult use.

Other Proposals in the Works

Another bill allowing hemp extracts to be used for medical purposes is on the agenda as well as one to legalize hemp farming for research purposes. Another attempt has been proposed to allow medical marijuana patients who are visiting Wyoming to be able to possess their medication so long as they have a card and follow the rules set forth by their state. The new director for the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), Frank Latta, has indicated that there may be another bill being proposed by NORML to legalize medical marijuana and hemp cultivation.

Combating the Overuse of Opiates

decriminalizing wyoming marijuana in hopes of fighting opiate addiction
Lawmakers hope to use decriminalization to battle opiate addiction.

Latta spoke to The Cannabist in an interview this week, saying “This would be a bill that I really believe has some medical benefit for some people who really need it terribly instead of overusing the opiates. I also think there’s … a very overlooked part of this and that’s the economic development side of hemp. I think that’s wide open.”

Latta is a 2-term Republican state legislature and former mayor in his 60s with a good reputation. He is determined to get Wyoming marijuana laws to progress, allowing medical marijuana to be available to patients who need it. He was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, a condition that is well known to be treated with marijuana. Wyoming marijuana laws prevented him from being able to use cannabis treatments and instead he was prescribed a drug to which he is now medically addicted despite no longer needing it for treatment of his condition. He is determined to change this in his home state and allow people access to medication, especially a plant that is both safer and healthier than alcohol, cigarettes and prescription medication.

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