The recently formed Wyoming chapter of NORML is advocating for a ballot initiative that would legalize recreational marijuana in the state. They hope to get the measure onto the 2016 statewide ballot.
The group’s executive director Christine Christian explained, “We don’t like being told what to do by the federal government. And Wyoming doesn’t like regulations and having our money go somewhere else.” Aside from disliking control from the federal government, Christian also cited the fact that putting people in jail for low level marijuana crimes eats up state resources and helps to make people “better criminals”.
In Wyoming, possession of up to three ounces of marijuana is considered a misdemeanor. Individuals caught in possession of marijuana face up to a year in prison and a $1,000 fine. People caught with over 3 ounces of marijuana can be convicted of a felony, punishable by up to 5 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
In 2010, Wyoming had 2,254 marijuana arrests, 93% of which were solely for possession and not for manufacture or sale. An ACLU report claims that Wyoming spends over $9 million each year to enforce its marijuana laws.