Wyoming marijuana advocates plan to begin circulating petitions in September for two proposed ballot measures – one asking if the state should legalize medical marijuana, and the other if it should decriminalize pot.
The Wyoming Attorney General’s Office this week approved the wording of the proposed questions.
The Secretary of State’s Office has now begun the process of seeking bids for printing the petitions. The process ends Aug. 25.
The Wyoming chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws plans to begin gathering signatures on or soon after Sept. 1.
“We’ll be hitting events, going door to door. We intend to get it all wrapped up by February,” Wyoming NORML Executive Director Bennett Sondeno said.
The group has a “big list” of Wyoming events where it plans to gather signatures in the next few months, Sondeno said.
February is the deadline to submit enough valid signatures to the secretary of state to get the measures before voters in the 2022 general election, Sondeno said.
Wyoming is among a minority of states that don’t allow cannabis in some fashion.
Eighteen states now allow adult recreational marijuana use, 27 have decriminalized small amounts of marijuana, and 36 allow medical pot, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
Wyoming’s process for gathering signatures to allow voters to decide an issue is a challenging one. Proponents must gather valid signatures from 15% of voters in the previous general election from each of at least 16 of the state’s 23 counties.
All nine initiative efforts in the past 25 years – including a 2017 proposal to legalize medical marijuana – have failed to qualify for the ballot.
The last two Wyoming initiatives to get enough signatures to go before voters failed at the polls in 1996. Both involved term limits. The last ballot proposal to both gather enough signatures and succeed with voters was a railroad safety measure in 1992.
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