2016 is going to be a big year for cannabis. As a result, we are ranking the fifty states from worst to best on how they treat cannabis and those who consume it. Each of our State of Cannabis posts will analyze one state and our final post will crown the best state for cannabis. As is always the case, but particularly so with this series, we welcome your comments. This is our seventh post in the series and the following is a recap of where we are with the rankings, from worst (number 50) to this week’s number 44. Wyoming; 45. Texas; 46. Kansas; 47. Alabama; 48. Idaho; 49. Oklahoma; 50. South Dakota.

Wyoming and MarijuanaCriminal Penalties. In Wyoming, marijuana intoxication is a misdemeanor punishable by up to six months in jail and a $750 fine. Cultivating any amount of marijuana is a misdemeanor that can earn you 6 months in prison and a fine of up to $1,000. Possession of three ounces or less of cannabis is also a misdemeanor that can warrant up to 12 months imprisonment and a fine of up to $1,000.

The felony charges for marijuana are much harsher than the misdemeanors. A person in possession of more than 3 ounces of marijuana faces a potential 5-year prison sentence and a $10,000 fine. Those same penalties apply to the sale or distribution of any amount of marijuana. In other words, selling a gram of marijuana in Wyoming can earn you a half a decade in prison!

The harshest penalties for marijuana are triggered when children are involved. An adult who distributes marijuana to a minor more than three years his or her junior, faces up to 20 years imprisonment and a $10,000 fine. A marijuana conviction within 500 feet of a school is subject to an additional $500 fine.

Medical Marijuana. The Wyoming state legislature recently approved a very restrictive medical marijuana bill, which the Marijuana Policy Project deemed so inadequate as to not consider Wyoming a medical marijuana state:

On July 1, 2015, HB 32 became law after Gov. Matt Mead neither signed nor vetoed the bill. This CBD hemp extract bill will exempt registered individuals with intractable epilepsy from certain criminal penalties for the use and possession of marijuana extracts that are very low in tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and sufficiently high in cannabidiol (CBD). The new law does not provide for in-state cultivation of marijuana or production of hemp oil. Because the law only applies to low-THC marijuana, MPP does not consider Wyoming a medical marijuana state.

Some of other “highlights” of the bill are as follows:

  • Only “hemp extracts” with less than 0.3% THC and more than 5% CBD by weight are legal.
  • Only patients with intractable epilepsy qualify. In other words, epilepsy is the only qualifying condition.
  • The bill does not provide for how patients may obtain their medical cannabis and it is unclear whether they must travel to other states that allow medical marijuana.

Marijuana Reform. An initiative that would have legalized marijuana in Wyoming for recreational purposes failed to gain the requisite number of signatures for placement on the November 2016 ballot and a bill that would have decriminalized marijuana possession also failed to make it through the state legislature. Wyoming NORML is currently collecting signatures for a legalization initiative that would appear on the 2018 ballot.

Unfortunately, the majority of Wyoming voters and lawmakers simply do not want marijuana reform in their state and that sentiment came through loud and clear in a recent Wyoming Tribune Eagle editorial on cannabis:

Not only are these young people’s lives affected, but their use of drugs also has affected those who love them and the community they live in.

Sometimes it is the very parents who are the drug users. Ask yourself if you want stoned truck drivers on the road or stoned teachers teaching your students?

Drug use is epidemic, and legalizing it will not help to solve that problem.

Is making marijuana available to anyone with any illness really the answer?

All drugs are meant for healing and wholeness. Drugs are not meant for recreational purposes.

We need to think long and hard before we go down the road of medical legalization, which is only a stop gap approach to making it legal.

Any look around our communities should be a clear warning that this is a road best not traveled.

Bottomline. Wyoming has a joke of a medical cannabis program and draconian cannabis criminal laws and  most of its citizens are fine with all that. Marijuana users should steer (pun intended) clear of Wyoming.

  • Your FACE

    That’s just cute…all sittin ontop of Colorado like that.

    I have literally ZERO tolerance for this crap anymore.

    I have run COMPLETELY out of fucks.

    No more fucks to give. Sry.

  • carrie Satterwhite

    Hi I am Carrie the Public Relations Director with Wyoming NORML. I want to tell you that our initiative did not fail. Wyoming has until February 2017 to collect signatures. The residents of our state are so uneducated on the subject of Cannabis. We are fighting law enforcement at every turn, who continue to spread the old “reffer madness” lies. Wyoming did pass the CBD oil for seizure patients but, as you stated, there is no way for patients to get this much needed medicine. Our representatives wanted people to think they cared about them when in fact they just threw us a bone! We are fighting very hard to get our inititate on the ballot and are almost half way through the process of collecting signatures. Don’t rule us out quite yet we are a tough bunch and we haven’t given up, nor will we! Thanks, Carrie Satterwhite

    • Thank you for sharing Carrie! I updated the post, adding a link to your initiative. We wish you the best of luck in fighting the “reefer madness” and we admire your hard work!

    • Guest

      Carrie, I was born and raised in Wyoming and am CERTAIN, the ONLY chance we have to legalize is if its MEDICAL only and maybe only the concentrates.
      It’s a start (would SAVE LIVES) and the best approach if you really want to see ANY change any time soon.
      Thanks for your consideration.

  • Aust

    Would love to see what number Iowa is

    • James DuMouchel

      They will come out at 42nd worst in the nation (two better than WY.)

      Reply

  • Steve Malenka

    Our country is a bunch of hypocrites. Alcohol is a drug too, and way worse.

    • CHRIS T WILKINSON

      Definetly, Alcohol is worse! B.S.that ppl can take “medications” that big drug companies make … These medications are also made from plants or worse synthetic materials…. Fricken govt in WY is so full of idiots and hypocrisy. Most were pot heads back in the day and many law enforcement the same. Ppl need to have these things..CBD and THC for real health issues.. epilepsy is only one. Ppl with REAL problems like pain management, PTSD and others are also in extreme need of opiate alternatives.. I hope that WY stops being ass backwards in so many things. Alcohol is the BIGGEST and REAL substance problem in this state.

  • That’s because all the Cowboys in Wyoming came from Texas – another antiquated cannabis state..

  • Matthew Wilson

    Oh man where do I begin.. So I am a resident of Wyoming and currently have a possession charge for under 3 ounces (like 2 grams) in the town of Evansville. I had my first court appearance 2 days ago and had no idea how bad it has become with the battle on marijuana. Everything I am about to tell you is 100% factual and ask that you excuse any grammatical errors as I don’t claim it to be my strong suite.

    -I was not arrested for the possession charge nor under the influence at the time.
    -This is my first offense at 31 for anything and has been 9 years since any traffic violation.
    -This is a small town and uses folding chairs in the small courtroom(maybe 20 chairs)
    -I was denied a trial by Jury
    -I was denied a public defender (i am without a job and have been for a month prior)
    -I was coerced into giving a plea after informing the court that I needed legal counsel

    I showed up to court dressed nicely and was 20 minutes early as I wanted to let the court know that I took this matter seriously. While waiting on the Judge to appear I thought it an opportune time to ask the District Attorney about the first time offenders provision that Wyoming has, which in short would put me on a deferred sentence pending the completion of the courts chosen probation sentence, ultimately removing the charge from my records. To my amazement the DA responded with this statement (I do not remember it word for word but is very close) “that it was not what they liked to give out and would have to be a very special case for them to even consider it”, to which I responded “I have nothing on my record for 31 years and have no desire to ever be in this position again”, he walked off and without looking at me said something about having to run an extensive background on me. The officer who gave me the ticket even spoke up saying how well I had cooperated to no avail as the DA left the room without saying another word. That is when I realized he wasn’t going to even consider the provision and proceeded to ask the sheriff how I was to go about having my case heard by a jury, which he didn’t know but was informed shortly afterwards by the DA that a trial by jury was not available for my case as in his exact words “you do not have the right to a trial by jury for a misdemeanor possession charge as it is not a jail-able offense” and to help shorten this up was also refused by the judge (I made sure to not accept and waive my rights to one). Skipping ahead, I knew my knowledge of law was not enough and immediately after being sworn in, informed the judge that I needed to seek legal counsel, and instead of proceeding to set a trial date he requested/demanded me to enter a plea twice as I was utterly confused at first, thinking I must have made a mistake in thinking that was what an attorney was for and trusting that the judge must know law I entered a plea of not guilty as that was the only plea I could logically enter to obtain counsel as if I plead guilty I would be charged immediately, and if I plead Nolo Contendere, the DA was sure to convict me with the attitude being portrayed. I was one of about 10 people seeing the judge that day and couldn’t help but notice that the DA had something to say about every case immediately after the person was called , ranging from a speeding ticket, to unpaid fines, to falsely impersonating, to assault, yet did not say a single word when I was called and don’t understand why that is, besides assuming. There are things missing from this statement, but only further support my claim of being treated unfairly and will be bold enough to say I felt that the DA and Judge were trying to coerce me into believing that there was nothing I could do but accept whatever they decided. Especially when the judge denied me a public defender (i am without a job) under the pretense of this not being a jail-able offense.

    If you took the time to read this I could use your insight and all the help I can get as I am on my own right now, blasting through as much legal nonsense as possible to have a fighting chance of keeping a possession charge off my record, which will severely impact my ability to obtain employment for a very long time.

    -I am understanding Admiralty Law being used on land in our courts instead of Common Law and how that affects my constitutional rights, as I know they are in direct violation of my seventh amendment right, but to my understanding is allowed under Admiralty Law and am going to submit a letter of demand for trial by jury, but am very green….