Medical Marijuana Petition Drive Taking Place at WWCC Until 7 p.m.

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ROCK SPRINGS — Petitioners working to place the Peggy A. Kelley Wyoming Cannabis Act of 2016 on the 2016 ballot have set up a booth at the Western Wyoming Community College atrium near the pendulum.

The booth will be available from 1 pm until 7 pm today.

One resident who signed the petition is former Rock Springs Police Chief Neil Kourbelas.

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Kourbelas is also on the Sweetwater County School District Number 1 Board of Trustees.

Kourbelas jokingly said his signature might bring into question his service on the school board, he then thanked the petition drive organizers for their efforts.

Background

According to the website of the Wyoming chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), Peggy A Kelly was a founding member of Wyoming NORML and passed away in January of this year after a long battle with cancer.

She was the first woman to work for Burlington Northern Railroad as an engineer and retired after a hazardous materials incident at work left her with a permanent lung injury which later escalated to COPD and carcinoma.

Peggy outlived her doctor’s prognosis and credited her longevity to cannabis, her “little miracle.” You can read her story here.

Legal Framework

The act would amend Wyoming Statutes to provide “for the legalization of medical marijuana for use by persons with debilitating medical conditions and for the legalization of medical marijuana and medical-marijuana infused products.”

The act calls for the Liquor Division of the Wyoming Department of Revenue to regulate the medical marijuana industry in a manner “similar to the state’s regulation of alcohol.” Medical marijuana certificates would be issued by Wyoming-licensed physicians, and products would only be available from state-regulated dispensaries.

Cultivation and extraction of medical marijuana products would occur only in state-regulated facilities, none of which could be located within 1000 feet of a church, public library, playground, elementary or secondary school or a licensed day care center.

Medical marijuana establishment would be subject to any state commercial activities tax, including sales, use or excise tax as applied to businesses in general.

Consumption of medical marijuana would not be allowed in any public place including schools, child day-care centers or in a vehicle, aircraft, train or motorboat.

Employers would not be required to permit or accommodate the use, consumption, possession, transfer, display, or transportation of medical marijuana, except that a patient with a certificate may self-administer the medical marijuana subject to the same conditions applied to the administration of prescribed medications.

Hemp

The act also includes a provision for the production of “hemp and hemp products,” allowing hemp to be grown as a crop, produced, processed, possessed and commercially traded in Wyoming.

Hemp would also be regulated by the Liquor Division and subject to any state commercial activities taxes.

The Petition Drive

The number of signatures required is based on the number of votes cast in the last general election.

The number fluctuates significantly every two years because more people vote during presidential elections.

Specifically, initiated state statutes and veto referendums require signatures equal to 15% of the total ballots cast in the previous general election. This is the highest requirement of any state.

The drive is seeking 51,370 signatures by February 8, 2016, twice the number required. Petitioners must be registered voters for their signature to count. Voters will need to re-register if they moved to a different county or if they didn’t vote in the last general election.

 

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