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Wyoming Medical Marijuana Initiative Won’t Make 2018 Ballot

Organizers failed to hand in enough signatures to turn their petition into a ballot measure.

by Zach Harris

With eight states already welcoming legal adult recreational marijuana use, the 20 states with medical marijuana provisions are looking outdated. Even more so, the 22 states still honoring the federal government’s total prohibition on cannabis have shown just how stuck in the past they really are.

In Wyoming, where possessing a dime bag can still result in jail time, it will be at least another two years until residents can even vote on a medical marijuana provision.

The delay comes after cannabis advocates and organizers failed to obtain enough signatures to turn their petition into a ballot measure for the 2018 mid-term elections. The petition began in 2015, and activists had 18 months to collect the required signatures, but according to the Casper Star Tribune, disorganization and fighting within Wyoming’s NORML branch and other advocacy organizations led to the demise of the MMJ initiative.

While the area’s NORML chapter was active in collecting signatures, the group says they were not in charge of the initiative, and handed their signed petitions to the organizers leading the effort, but the Wyoming Secretary of State’s office told the Star Tribune that those signatures never made it to their office.

The measure was originally planned for 2016, but after organizers failed to get enough signatures, the petition was pushed back until 2018. Still, Wyoming voters weren’t adamant enough to make their voice heard, and in turn won’t be able to put a measure on the ballot until at least 2020.

But for Wyoming’s NORML branch, the fight isn’t over, and the future is still looking bright for marijuana law reform.

“We feel very confident in how things should go from here,” Carrie Satterwhite, a spokeswoman for Wyoming NORML told the Star Tribune. “People saw the infighting as being us...there’s been no fighting in our group. We’ve all been on the same page.”

For Satterwhite and Wyoming’s marijuana advocates, being on the same page might be the most important factor going forward. A poll from late last year done by the University of Wyoming shows that support for law enforcement leniency and legalization have become increasingly popular over the fast few years.

In late 2016, 81% of Wyoming residents polled supported medical marijuana, and 72% opposed jail time for possession of small amounts. If that voice can be heard on a legislative level, Wyoming might be able to get themselves out of marijuana prohibition - but for now, potential patients and cannabis activists will have to wait at least two more years.


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Zach Harris is a writer based in Philadelphia whose work has appeared on Noisey, First We Feast, and Jenkem Magazine. You can find him on Twitter @10000youtubes complaining about NBA referees.



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