Aside from a minute percentage of people who can access cannabidiol (CBD) oil to ease severe epileptic seizures, medical marijuana laws in Wyoming continue to be extremely restrictive. There weren’t even any bills introduced in the 2016 state legislative session that would have expanded medical weed access — truly a discouraging sign for advocates. However, they will continue to try and get an initiative on the ballot so voters can decide for themselves if patients should have access to medicinal cannabis.
On February 1, 2017, WyomingNews.com — the website of The Wyoming Tribune Eagle — reported that a legislative committee voted to move a bill forward that would create a different system for marijuana penalties. However, the same committee rejected a measure that would decriminalize possession of small amounts of weed. The reform bill went to the House of Representatives, but it was unclear as of this writing when — or even if — it would come up for a vote.
Under the bill, if someone is caught with less than three ounces of pot, in plant form, or less than eight ounces of a product infused with weed, such as an edible, that person would face up to 20 days in jail and a $200 fine — for a first offense. If that person is convicted for a second time within 10 years, the penalties go up to six months in jail and a $750 fine. A third conviction will result in up two years in jail and a fine of up to $5,000. Four or more convictions would result in a felony punishment, up to a $10,000 fine and five years in jail.
The motivation behind the bill, according to the article, was that sponsors wanted to address what was referred to a “the edibles loophole” in marijuana laws in Wyoming. A state judge ruled in 2015 that a person could only be charged with a marijuana-related felony if the cannabis is in plant form, not in an edible like a brownie or a cookie.
Even though there has been little progress toward decriminalization, the reason isn’t a lack of effort. A legislator introduced a bill to the state’s House of Representatives that would make possession of a small amount of weed a civil rather than criminal infraction, subject to a fine of no more than $200. The representative, Mark Baker, told the Tribune Eagle that he believes weed will eventually be reclassified by the federal government, opening the door to potential legalization.
By decriminalizing weed now, he said, the state can be “ahead of the game” when it comes to steering law enforcement away from pursuing small-time drug cases and moving it toward preventing more serious crimes. Baker also said he doesn’t want to run the risk of “criminalizing” people caught with small amounts of weed who use it for medical reasons.
The bill was ultimately voted down by the legislature’s House Judiciary Committee.
MarijuanaDoctors.com will continue to keep track of development concerning Wyoming medical marijuana laws, so check back with us often for updates.