Wyoming activists say they’ve made solid progress in collecting signatures for a pair of ballot initiatives to decriminalize marijuana possession and legalize medical cannabis, but they didn’t get enough to make the 2022 ballot deadline and will be aiming for 2024 while simultaneously pushing the legislature to advance reform even sooner. Weather conditions, the ongoing pandemic, and late approval for their petitions by state officials made the prospect of putting legalization and decriminalization before voters this year especially challenging. Apollo Pazell, chief strategist for the campaign, which is being backed by the national Libertarian Party and Wyoming NORML, told Marijuana Moment that they’d considered “keeping teams on the ground [to collect signatures] through the holiday season, and we may have made it, but the uncertainty was too much in my opinion.” The ballot process is especially taxing for activists in Wyoming, with high threshold requirements for citizen initiatives. To have made the 2022 ballot, they would have needed to collect 41,776 valid signatures from registered voters per measure by February. Bennett Sondeno of Wyoming NORML told Marijuana Moment that activists are about 30 percent of the way through that goal, but making the deadline next month is not tenable so they are looking to turn in enough signatures by January 2023 to make the 2024 ballot. He said, “we will push for legislative action this session and next, and fall back to the 2024 election if the legislators refuse to pass something workable.” This ballot effort launched after state lawmakers advanced—but failed to pass—a bill to legalize marijuana in 2021.
Kyle Jaeger, Marijuana Moment, 01/03/2022 16:50:00