Updated on January 30, 2019. Medical content reviewed by Dr. Joseph Rosado, MD, M.B.A, Chief Medical Officer
As legislation changes in Wyoming, check back to this section for information about how those legislative changes will affect the prospect of medical marijuana in Wyoming.
There is a Wyoming medical marijuana program, but it’s so unworkable that it’s basically useless. This “program” is only limited to people suffering from severe epilepsy and seizure disorders, and they can only legally possess cannabidiol (CBD) cannabis extracts that are low in THC (the psychoactive component in weed). There is no provision for in-state production of the extract, nor is there any provision for in-state cultivation.
The law permits people suffering from seizure disorders to possess “hemp extract” that cannot contain more than 0.3 percent of THC. To qualify, they must have a written recommendation from a certified neurologist who has tried other treatment options that have proven ineffective. Minors can use CBD oil, but the law holds their parents or guardians responsible for that use.
Wyoming residents wishing to use CBD oil must have a hemp extract registration card issued by the state. If the patient is a minor, the card is issued to the child’s parent or guardian.
The patient or parent/guardian has to submit a statement from a neurologist to the Wyoming Department of Health to be able to obtain the card. This statement must specify that the patient has a seizure disorder or severe epilepsy and that he or she may realize a medicinal benefit from using CBD oil.
Unfortunately, Wyoming medical marijuana law fails to address this question. There is no provision that allows for the production of CBD within the state’s borders. There are also no active dispensaries in Wyoming.
So, to obtain the medicine they need, patients have to travel to a state where CBD can be legally purchased. Not only is this an incredible burden, but it also puts patients at the risk of violating federal law by transporting a controlled substance across state lines.
Advocates of a sensible Wyoming medical marijuana program tried to put the issue to a vote for the 2018 election but fell short. They were unable to obtain the number of signatures needed to put a measure on the ballot. As a result, the earliest that the citizens of Wyoming would be able to vote on the issue would be 2020. It appears that a petition effort could eventually succeed because a Wyoming News survey taken in 2016 showed that 81 percent of voters in the state favored a true medical marijuana program.
There were several bills introduced during the 2017 legislative session that addressed marijuana reform, but they all failed. One bill would have made it easier for physicians to recommend medical cannabis, while another would have expanded the existing law to include adults suffering from any medical condition. The other bill would have allowed out-of-state visitors to legally possess medicinal marijuana within Wyoming’s borders.
In addition, a bill that called for the decriminalization of small amounts of weed failed to get out of the committee phase despite reportedly having support from representatives in both parties. A penalty reduction bill was approved in the House, but amendments were added to the Senate version of the bill that reduced penalties for possessing only certain types of cannabis. The House version would have reduced the penalty for first-time possession of fewer than three ounces of pot to a $200 fine and no more than 20 days in jail.
Even though the same Wyoming Newspoll referred to earlier also showed that 72 percent of Wyoming voters are in favor of decriminalizing possession of small amounts of pot, Wyoming marijuana laws continue to be among the harshest in the country. If you are simply caught being under the influence of pot, you could, incredibly, face a jail sentence of up to six months and a fine of as much as $750. If you are caught with three ounces of weed or less, you could spend a year in jail and be assessed a fine of up to $1,000.
Possession of more than three ounces is considered a felony in the eyes of the law in Wyoming. This offense could land you in prison for up to five years. The fine is a staggering $10,000. Sale or distribution — no matter what the amount — carries a prison sentence of up to 10 years and a fine of as much as $10,000. Even possessing paraphernalia can result in a six months in jail and a fine of $750.
Read our section on Wyoming marijuana laws to learn more.
Read Wyoming’s Full Medical Marijuana Laws to gain full specific knowledge of Wyoming’s exact legal guidelines without interpretation.