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Preliminary signature gathering process begins for 2022 marijuana ballot initiatives August 4, 2021
Preliminary signature gathering process begins for 2022 marijuana ballot initiatives

The first steps toward ballot initiatives that would make Wyoming a more marijuana-friendly state are underway, but there are still big hurdles that need to be cleared.The Wyoming Secretary of State’s office granted what’s known as “conditional certification” Monday to the two proposed ballot initiatives: the “Wyoming Patient Cannabis Act of 2022” and the “Wyoming Cannabis Amendments 2022.” The first would legalize medical marijuana and the second would reduce the fines and punishments related to consumption, possession and cultivation of marijuana, better known as decriminalization.Organizers went through multiple meetings with the Secretary of State’s office that changed the initiatives, but they still accomplish the original goals. If the decriminalization initiative is passed, Wyomingites will receive $50 fines for first offense possession under four ounces and $75 fines for third and subsequent offenses. Jail time will be eliminated.

Senate Democrats just rolled out a bill to end the federal ban on marijuana. Majority Leader Chuck Schumer argues most Americans support legalization and that current laws are fundamentally unfair. "Young men and young women, disproportionately young Black and Hispanic men and women have been arrested and jailed for even carrying a small amount of marijuana in their pocket," Schumer said. "A charge that came with exorbitant penalties and a serious criminal record because of the over-criminalization of marijuana, and it followed them for the remainder of their lives. It makes no sense and its time for change."  Eighteen states and D.C. have already legalized recreational marijuana, while a vast majority of states have legalized medical marijuana.

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