Wyoming is likely not the first place that you think of when you think of cannabis reform. However, the times are changing, and even Wyoming is ripe for marijuana reform. Wyoming NORML has launched a campaign to legalize medical marijuana in their state. Late last week the campaign received approval from the Wyoming Secretary of State to start gathering signatures. Per The Joint Blog:
Members of the Wyoming chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) are now allowed to begin collecting signatures on their initiative to legalize medical cannabis, with the goal of placing it on the November, 2016 general election ballot.
The group was notified Thursday by Secretary of State Ed Murray’s office that their initiative has been approved for circulation. The proposal would allow those with certain debilitating conditions to possess, cultivate, purchase and use cannabis for medical purposes. Advocates will need to collect 25,700 signatures from registered Wyoming voters by February 8th for the measure to be put to a vote of the people.
The signature requirements in Wyoming are a higher hurdle to get past compared to all other states in America. Per Wyoming NORML’s campaign page:
The signature requirement in Wyoming is based on the number of votes cast in the state’s most recent general election–held every two years. However, in most I&R states, the number of signatures required is based on gubernatorial elections–almost always held every four years. As a result of Wyoming’s atypical system, the number of signatures changes significantly every two years due to the fact that voter turnout for presidential elections is generally much higher than in mid-term elections.
More specifically, initiated state statutes and veto referendums require signatures equal to 15% of the total ballots cast in the previous general election. This is the highest signature requirement of any state, even considering requirements for initiating constitutional amendments. Citizen-initiated Constitutional amendments are not allowed in Wyoming. Wyoming Constitution, Article 3, Section 52(c)
All this Wyoming campaign needs is one significant donation and they will be able to afford professional signature gatherers, and I think the initiative could easily make the ballot. Whether or not voters would pass it, I’m not sure because I haven’t seen any polling out of Wyoming in awhile. But there is obviously suffering patients in Wyoming, so any effort is well worth it. I hope this campaign gains traction and gets funding help from national funders.