Marijuana ballot initiatives clear another state hurdle

(File photo)

Wyoming Secretary of State Ed Buchanan certified two marijuana ballot initiatives Wednesday, clearing the way for the initiatives to begin collecting signatures for placement on the 2022 general election ballot.

The announcement was made on Aug. 11 by the Wyoming Libertarian Party, which states the initiatives need to collect 41,776 petition signatures before Wyoming voters can decide if they want cannabis decriminalized for personal use and legalized for medical use.

“The Wyoming advocates behind this effort have worked very hard to draft initiatives that will work for the people of Wyoming,” Christine Stenquist, initiative senior strategist, said in a statement. “We are excited to begin the signature-gathering process to let everyone in Wyoming have a voice.”

The news comes months after the initiatives were first announced by the Libertarian National Committee (LNC) in June 2021, which announced that both measures were in response to the defeat of two marijuana bills in the Wyoming Legislature earlier this year.

House Bill 82 (HB082) had called for a study to identify medical conditions that benefit from the use of marijuana and called for the draft and implementation of regulations for medical marijuana in Wyoming.

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House Bill 209 (HB209) would have legalized the regulation, sale, and use of marijuana in general.

Both bills were advanced out of committee during the 2021 Wyoming Legislative Session but missed the March 22 deadline for initial consideration.

Despite their fate in the legislature, the LNC feels now is the right time to push for a vote allowing the Wyoming people to decide for themselves what they want to do regarding marijuana laws, per LNC.

The Wyoming Legislature has debated marijuana legislation off and on for 30 years, LNC stated, but this time both bills were voted out of committee by the House Judiciary Committee with a favorable recommendation that both bills pass during a full discussion on the House floor.

“Unfortunately, the legislative session year ended before the full House could take up the bills for a vote,” the LNC wrote in a June 2021 statement, adding that the initiatives would take the issues out of the hands of lawmakers and place them in the hands of the Wyoming people.