Wyoming will try again to legalize medical and recreational cannabis

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Activists for the evolution of cannabis laws in Wyoming will continue their plan to include questions relating to the legalization of the use of cannabis for medical and adult purposes on the 2024 ballots, reports the local daily Star Tribune.

The new mobilization of associations Compassionate Options Wyoming, Wyoming NORML And Wyoming Libertarian Party follows a misunderstanding of the guidance from the Secretary of State’s office, which told them that the proposed measures were not eligible, when in fact they were.

Initially, organizers thought they had thousands fewer signatures than needed, and so did not submit them to the Secretary of State’s office by the March deadline; however, they had in fact reached the threshold set. Under the Secretary of State’s updated guidance, the campaign must now collect signatures and submit them before the next legislative session, which begins in January.

Apollo Pazell, spokesperson for the organizers, told the Star Tribune that the procedure was “really convoluted and confusing”, but that the campaign would seek to extend the procedure beyond the start of the session due to confusing directives from the Secretary of State’s office.

Wyoming requires organizers who wish to place issues on the ballot to collect a number of signatures equal to 15 percent of the votes cast in the last general election and to meet that same threshold in two-thirds of counties of the state in order to put the question to the voters. The petition must be signed on paper, in person.

Once proponents receive their petition form from the state, they have 18 months to collect the required signatures and must submit their petition with signatures before the start of the legislative session for the year in which they wish their initiative to be put to a vote. The groups collected about 36,000 signatures for the two initiatives before the March deadline, Mr. Pazell said.

When organizers received their petition in September from then-Secretary of State Edward Buchanan, it was impossible to know what number of signatures would be required based on 2022 turnout, because the election had not yet taken place, the report said. The number of signatures required based on 2020 voter turnout was 41,776, meaning the measures fell short of the 15% threshold for two-thirds of Wyoming’s counties. However, the Secretary of State’s office now says that, based on 2022 voter turnout, 29,730 signatures are needed to place an initiative on the 2024 ballot, allowing the petitions to be valid.

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