The Wyoming House of Representatives voted recently against a bill aiming to decriminalize marijuana possession in the state.
The bill, which was sponsored by Democratic Representative James Byrd, proposed changing marijuana laws so that those caught with up to an ounce of marijuana would only be given a $50 to $100 civil fine instead of the current penalties, which include up to a year in prison and a $1,000 fine.
Byrd said that the bill would have helped clear up resources for the state by decreasing the number of misdemeanors the judicial system has to process.
“It would take a lot of things that we run through the court system and the very expensive proprietorial process and it would eliminate most of that,” he explained to reporters.
“And that would alleviate a lot of the financial burden that is the on the system.”
When the bill went up for vote yesterday, it failed to receive the two-thirds affirmative votes required, and was rejected 21-37.
Representative Bill Pownall, who helped lead the charge against the bill, said that decriminalizing marijuana would send “the wrong message” to Wyomingites.
“I have received numerous calls and emails from people wanting to vote against this,” he went on to say. “This would create a lot of problems in the state.”
The bill to decriminalize the possession of marijuana wasn’t the only cannabis-related bill to be rejected in Wyoming this week.
Shortly after voting against the first bill, the House also rejected a second bill that would have allowed out-of-state visitors who have a medical marijuana card from their home state to carry medicinal cannabis in Wyoming.
Byrd was also the sponsor of this bill. He explained that, the way he understood it, the bill would have been similar to already existing laws that allow out-of-state visitors with concealed-carry firearm permits from their home states to carry their guns while in Wyoming.
This is the third year in a row that the Wyoming House of Representatives has rejected proposals to decriminalize marijuana.