One of Two Marijuana Bills Dies in the House, Other Still Alive
One of two marijuana bills remains alive as the state legislative session continues; the surviving bill calls for state legislators to examine state statutes for ways to legalize medical marijuana.
Today, Feb. 1, legislators voted to kill HB234, which would have conditionally reduced charges for marijuana infractions and was the only marijuana bill, so far, to have made past introduction, having been referred to the House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday.
HB234 was sponsored by Representative Tyler Lindholm, R-Sundance, with Representative Eric Barlow and Senator Michael Von Flatern, both R-Gillette, co-sponsoring the bill.
If it had stayed alive, HB234 would allowed incarcerated individuals, convicted of a marijuana-related felony for growing, creating, possessing, and delivering marijuana or marijuana products, to petition the court to change their conviction to a misdemeanor.
The bill also called for individuals who were currently confined for marijuana-related felonies to be released from jails and prisons across the state if they had been incarcerated for more than 12 months.
A combination of probation and incarceration equivalent to 12 months would also have been sufficient for their release.
The bill meant county jails and state prisons could have been free of hundreds of inmates serving time for marijuana-related offenses.
But one bill remains alive, which could place Wyoming more in line with over half of the states in the U.S., including the District of Columbia, where medical marijuana has been legalized.
House Bill 258, sponsored primarily by Representative Bill Henderson, R-Cheyenne, does not legalize medical marijuana, per se, but it would layout the groundwork for future marijuana legislation.
The bill calls for $30,000, withdrawn from the general fund to the department of health, to pay for an implementation report, which will show legislators ways to begin the legalization process.
The report, required by the legislation, would provide a timeline for the implementation and regulation of medical marijuana in Wyoming.
The report would need to include a list of recommendations on how to regulate medical marijuana prescriptions and to identify certain medical conditions that reportedly benefit from them.
Additionally, recommendations will be required on how to prevent wrongfully obtained prescriptions and misuse of medical marijuana, while at the same time promoting its legitimate use.
HB258 also demands the report generate a timeline for implementation and regulation of medical marijuana in Wyoming.
As it stands right now, HB258 has only been introduced to the house, but no further action has been scheduled to advance the bill.