CHEYENNE, WY — The Wyoming chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws has submitted a proposed ballot initiative aimed at placing a marijuana legalization question on the 2016 ballot to the Secretary of State’s office.
The proposed initiative would legalize marijuana in the state for adults 21 or older, and it would authorize the medical use of marijuana for anyone with a doctor’s recommendation.
The bill would allow home cultivation of up to 12 plants by patients or adults, and allow the possession of up to three ounces.
The proposed initiative establishes penalties for more than 4 ounces of marijuana, except in the cases of people called caregivers who teach medical patients how to use it. The proposed initiative would make it a felony for everyone other than registered caregivers to have more than 12 ounces, with prison time starting at one year and fines starting at $100,000.
Driving under the influence of marijuana would be illegal, the proposed initiative states.
State employees who use marijuana cannot be fired, the proposed initiative states.
Patients would qualify for medical marijuana by a physician who has applied for permission to offer the service by the Wyoming Department of Health. Patients would need to get assistance from caregivers, who are registered by the Wyoming Department of Health. Caregivers could help them acquire pot or teach them to grow it. Caregivers must have never been convicted of a felony involving illegal drugs, a violent felony or any felony in the past 10 years, the proposed initiative states.
Retail marijuana stores would be regulated by the Wyoming Liquor Control Board. Towns and cities would be allowed to entirely ban sale or dispensing of recreational marijuana. They could also restrict business hours, locations and the number of licenses within Wyoming liquor laws, the proposed initiative states.
Sales tax on recreational pot could not exceed 25 percent of the wholesale value. Sales taxes would go toward administering the program, with additional revenue going to the state’s General Fund, which is the account that funds state government operations.
Excise taxes, which are taxes government levies on a specific product or service, cannot exceed 15 percent prior to Jan. 1, 2020.
Afterward, the Wyoming Legislature can determine the rate. Excise taxes would go to the public school capital construction fund, the proposed initiative states.
The Secretary of State’s office will now review the ballot language for compliance with state election laws. If approved, supporters would then begin gathering signatures from registered voters state wide.
The number of signatures necessary to get the initiative on the 2016 ballot will be a percentage of the number of votes cast in the 2014 election.
Meanwhile, Wyoming state Rep. Sue Wallis, (R-Recluse) intends to file a medical marijuana legalization bill when the state legislature convenes on February 10.