Wyoming Medical Marijuana; Legalization Initiatives Aim for 2016

Wyoming Medical Marijuana; Legalization Initiatives Aim for 2016

CHEYENNE, WY — In a sign of changing times, at least two separate marijuana initiative campaigns are getting underway in Wyoming, one of the reddest of the red states. One initiative would legalize marijuana and hemp, while the other limits itself to medical marijuana.

The first initiative, sponsored by Wyoming NORML (“established 4/20/2013″), would “tax and legalize cannabis, hemp, and ALL related products and businesses in the state of Wyoming, removing all penalties for use by adults over 21 years of age within the state of Wyoming for both medical and recreational consumption.” It is aimed at the 2016 ballot.

Wyoming NORML presented its initiative petition to the secretary of state’s office Monday. Under the state’s initiative rules, the legislature has two weeks to review the application and suggest changes. If lawmakers object, organizers would have 19 days to collect 100 signatures to overrule the legislature and file the petition. Once a petition is approved for general circulation, organizers will need to come up with registered voters’ signatures equal to 15% of those who voted in the 2012 general election and 15% of the population in two-thirds of the state’s counties. That’s about 36,000 registered voters.

The thing could have a chance, said Wyoming NORML head Christine Christian.

“I think there’s a greater likelihood than people are projecting,” Christian told the Jackson Hole News and Guide. “We’re seeing more and more across the country that legislators are legalizing the medical. There are many people here that want medical marijuana. There are many people here that want hemp. There are many people here that want to use it recreationally.”

But Weed Wyoming, the folks behind the medical marijuana initiative, aren’t so sure the Cowboy State is ready for legal reefer. They announced Sunday that they are moving ahead with medical marijuana alone because they don’t think a legalization initiative can win.

“Although there is already an initiative in the pipeline for the 2016 ballot addressing marijuana law reform, its ‘whole ball of wax’ approach has no chance, as it is our experience that there is a lot of support for reform in our state, but the vast majority of that support is for medical reform and not recreational use,” the group said in a press release. “Given the consequences of failure of such an initiative, we feel it necessary to offer the people of our state an initiative that we believe brings the much-needed relief that the sick and disabled of our state badly need and actually has a good chance of succeeding.”

More than 2,000 people a year are arrested on marijuana charges in Wyoming, a state with only slightly more than half a million residents. About nine out of 10 of those arrests are for simple possession.

  • claygooding

    When America gets tired of paying for both sides of the war on marijuana it will end the same way alcohol prohibition ended and for the very same reason,,it will end when states and cities around the country nullify the federal laws by legalization/decriminalizing marijuana.
    We have farmers and merchants in America that could be producing and distributing this crop,why continue enriching criminals?.

    • wowFAD

      This “nullification” buzzword is cute, really, it is… And ya, state by state, alcohol prohibition was chipped away at, as one state re-legalized after another. They didn’t “nullify” federal law. They defied it. People who lived in states that had reintroduced alcohol were *still* at risk of prosecution from federal authorities. Namely, Anslinger’s Bureau of Prohibition.

      Alcohol prohibition, nationwide, ended with a State Ratifying Convention to add the 21st Amendement to the Constitution and repeal the 18th. So no, federal law wasn’t “nullified” — ultimately, it was changed.

      Which is why all this nonsense about “policy speeches” and “directive memos” don’t mean a thing until the Controlled Substances Act is changed, and cannabis is removed from it. Spreading around this “nullification” myth only emboldens people who have their own agendas — keep in mind, the last time the word “nullification” was kicked around was right after Newtown.

      We need to use the process to change things, or change the process itself, but throwing around buzzwords that are popular with the mass-shooting crowd isn’t how we’re going to get this done.

      • claygooding

        Well,thank you for your opinion on one word in my post and setting me straight on how each state legalizing alcohol wasn’t why prohibition of alcohol ended,,,I wish you could have left a more substantial suggestion on ending the war on marijuana but I guess being a sideline critic is a lot easier if you just shoot everyone else’s efforts down.

        • wowFAD

          The fact that you don’t grasp the way the words *YOU* use are understood by the country at large is your problem, not mine. I don’t need to suggest a legalization strategy as I am already familiar with the ones that are not only legitimate, but already in the works. But if you are bent on glory, I suggest you stop charging the windmill, Don Quixote — the Supremacy Clause of the Constitution established a long, long time ago that states can’t nullify federal law. Words have meaning. If you don’t know that, stop using them.

          • claygooding

            [ núllə f ]
            make something invalid: to make something legally invalid or ineffective
            cancel something out: to have the effect of canceling something out
            Synonyms: invalidate, annul, cancel out, abolish, reverse, quash
            The reason the DoJ did not file a suit against CO and WA was because he had no grounds,,so your supremacy clause is powerless against a vote by the people,,federal law may not be legislated into nullification but it can damn sure be voted into it. Any jury can nullify a law.

          • wowFAD

            LOL — uh, no. Not only did I watch the live coverage on C-SPAN 3 of Deputy AG Cole’s testimony, I was *paying attention*. Cole said the reason they didn’t sue was that the language of the laws were CORRECT — past attempts at crafting legislation had conflicting language with federal law. A64 and I502 did NOT. The DOJ spent six months trying to find exploitable language and FAILED. Moot to them — as long as the CSA stays unchanged, they’re still free to do business as usual.

            Guess what, clay? People in CO can still be arrested at the discretion of the DOJ for cannabis. Read the LAST paragraph in the now infamous Cole Memo, Part Deux. After the eight magic bullet points, Cole says the DOJ reserves the right to prosecute charges NOT outlined in those eight bullet points at their discretion. Know why? Because the law hasn’t actually changed, nor been nullified. Someone in WA or CO is going to get busted by the Feds. And it’s going to happen to someone complying with those eight magic bullet points.

            Bring a lawsuit? No. Continue to arrest people? *YES* — that’s why they haven’t changed the law. And by the way, the Supremacy Clause is why you’re NOT ALLOWED a medical necessity defense in states that have LEGAL medical cannabis if you’ve been busted by *any* federal law enforcement agency.

            That’s the power of the Supremacy Clause, and you can bet your trade school diploma people in CO and WA are going to find that out soon, despite your ability to cut and paste the definition of nullify (which has got to be the saddest semantic argument about federal law I’ve ever seen). The Feds can still arrest you in CO or WA — state law didn’t nullify anything.

      • Daht Kahm

        The nullification buzz word is cute and kind of cool when you can convince a jury to nullify needless laws one case at a time. If “they” can’t prosecute they’ll stop enforcing stupid laws.