EVANSTON, Wyoming — After the Wyoming State Legislature declined to advance a invoice to legalize medical hashish this yr, advocates are turning to voters with a pair of poll initiatives for 2022.
“It deserved to be debated. And since they didn’t debate it? We’re going to let the folks of Wyoming,” mentioned Madonna Lengthy, who’s signing on to sponsor the initiative.
Lengthy, a Kemmerer resident who lobbied the legislature to pass a medical cannabis bill, mentioned she believed a poll initiative would move in Wyoming, one of many few western states nonetheless with out hashish entry.
“The sufferers — the folks with persistent illnesses, folks with disabilities like me, these folks that possibly endure from MS, Parkinson’s, spinal twine harm, possibly cerebral palsy — all of those folks profit enormously from hashish therapies,” she mentioned in an interview with FOX 13 on Thursday.
Lengthy was injured in a bus crash the place she had a spinal twine harm. She mentioned she continues to endure from spams and now makes use of a wheelchair.
“For folks like me? Individuals who endure from persistent spasms? It could assist them considerably,” she mentioned of utilizing hashish.
There might be two poll initiative proposals submitted to Wyoming’s Secretary of State on Friday in Cheyenne. One will create a medical hashish program with dispensaries and the flexibility for folks to develop their very own restricted amount of crops. The opposite would decriminalize marijuana in Wyoming.
One poll initiative might be centered on medicinal entry solely, the opposite might be a marijuana decriminalization initiative.
“I’m not going to depart something to likelihood. I’m not going to depart it as much as legislators like we did right here in Utah. I’m going to maneuver ahead on a poll initiative and provides the sufferers what they deserve,” mentioned Christine Stenquist, the director of Collectively for Accountable Use and Hashish Schooling (TRUCE), who was a sponsor of Utah’s medical hashish poll initiative and is now working in Wyoming on hashish points.
Stenquist mentioned she expects opposition to an initiative, but not quite to the scale of Utah’s hard-fought Proposition 2.
“I don’t assume we’ll see the identical battle. We don’t have the identical stakeholders in Wyoming that you simply do right here,” she instructed FOX 13 in a current interview. “Particularly, the LDS Church is just not the large opponent we’re anxious about in Wyoming.”
The Wyoming Medical Affiliation opposed a 2016 attempt at a ballot initiative and is predicted to object to this one. Wyoming regulation enforcement teams additionally opposed hashish payments within the legislature.
However polling has proven elevated assist for medical marijuana in Wyoming — as much as 85%, according to one survey last year by the University of Wyoming. About 54% of these polled assist leisure marijuana, and 75% supported marijuana decriminalization.
To get an initiative on the poll in Wyoming, supporters should get 100 sponsor signatures. If these are validated, then they are going to have the following yr to get practically 31,000 signatures throughout the state. If these are verified, the problems might be positioned on the 2022 poll for voters.
Assist is constructing already for a marketing campaign. The nationwide Libertarian Social gathering is committing some sources, Stenquist mentioned, as are different hashish teams.
“The general public is wanting this. They’ve been wanting this for a very long time,” she mentioned.
Lengthy mentioned she deliberate to work on signature-gathering occasions in Evanston and surrounding areas as soon as they’ll begin. She desires to make sure affected person tales are instructed, collecting stories on a website for the Wyoming Patients Coalition.
“It’s actually all of those folks’s tales collectively to have the ability to assist our leaders and the folks in our communities perceive this might be good for Wyoming,” Lengthy mentioned.