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Marijuana legalization dies, missing deadline for consideration in the Wyoming House

A marijuana legalization supporter at rally outside the Wyoming Capitol in January 2021. (Dan Cepeda, Oil City File)

CASPER, Wyo. — Two pieces of legislation related to possible marijuana legalization in the state have missed a deadline for further consideration during the Wyoming Legislature’s 2021 General Session.

House Bill 209 would have legalized both recreational and medical marijuana in Wyoming and advanced out of the House Judiciary Committee on a vote of 6-3 on March 17.

House Bill 82 would have required a study to look at possible implementation of medical marijuana in the state. That legislation last saw a vote on March 19 when the House Appropriations Committee voted 5-1 that it do-pass in the full House.

With both bills passing out of committee, that put them in line for debate in the full House of Representatives. But the House failed to take up consideration of either bill ahead of Monday’s deadline for bills to be considered on first reading (Committee of the Whole) in their chamber of origin.

With the legislation missing this deadline, changes to Wyoming’s marijuana law are no longer on the table for the legislature’s 2021 General Session.

Some legislators had argued that it is time for the full House to debate marijuana legalization, particulary with a University of Wyoming Survey and Analysis Center (WYSAC) survey released in December which found that 54% of Wyoming residents support allowing adults in Wyoming to legally possess marijuana for personal use.

The study also found that 85% of Wyoming residents support medical use. 75% support decriminalizing marijuana.

During the House Judiciary Committee’s March 12 meeting, Chair Jared Olsen (Laramie County) argued that the state should work to legalize and regulate marijuana to get ahead of what he saw as inevitable changes in the legal status either through a ballot initiative in the state or through federal re-scheduling.

“Is Wyoming ready to legalize marijuana?” Olsen said, later adding: “From my perspective it is only a matter of time before one of a few things happen.”

Further details of the House Judiciary Committee’s discussion of the marijuana legislation is available in this article.