Wyoming House Judiciary Committee focuses on adult-use cannabis ahead of medical


Bethan Rose Jenkins, Cannabis News Writer/Editorial

Wyoming could go down in history if it proceeds with its plan to legalize adult-use cannabis. Why? Because even though a medical cannabis market hasn’t been created just yet, the Wyoming House Judiciary Committee seems to think that rolling out a recreational market in the virgin state would be a good idea.

Composed of nine members, the committee discussed the idea of potentially passing two cannabis-focused bills during a meeting that commenced on March 12. One of those bills would prompt the State Health officer to file a report on the rollout of a prospective medical program; based on a report by the Wyoming Tribune Eagle.

Conversely, the alternative proposal encompasses a sweeping legalization measure illustrating how adult-use cannabis would be implemented across the state of Wyoming. This bill in particular was endorsed by the committee with a vote of six to three.

Wyoming’s prospective cannabis excise tax could generate millions for the economy 

The recently-introduced bill to legalize recreational cannabis in Wyoming is sponsored by Republican House Majority Whip Jared Olsen. Named “House Bill 209“, it includes a 30 percent excise tax on the sale of adult-use cannabis and all cannabis-related products. Following its clearing by the Judiciary Committee, the bill now heads to the House floor.

Based on a fiscal note that was attached to H.B. 209, as much as $46 million worth of tax revenue could be generated. Of that amount, approximately $30.7 million would be distributed among public schools through the School Foundation Program fund. Furthermore, local governments would bag  $15.3 million for fiscal 2022, 2023 and 2024; further projections were not noted.

The aforementioned figures are merely estimates that were drawn together by the Wyoming Department of Revenue upon analyzing 2020 cannabis sales in nearby Colorado.

Conversely, the Wyoming Department of Agriculture anticipates another stream of money flowing from licensing fees, should H.B. 209 be effectuated. Considering the five testing facilities, 25 secure transporters, 50 microbusinesses, 50 manufacturing facilities, 100 cultivation facilities and 200 retail stores featured in the proposed measure, members of the Department say $2 million could easily be accrued.

Wyoming state law currently permits the sale and consumption of CBD

State law in Wyoming currently allows residents to purchase and consume cannabidiol (CBD) products. For those who want something a little bit stronger, a 10-mile journey to neighboring – and fully legal – Colorado is the next best option.

At the current time, H.B. 209 has 11 co-sponsors in the 60-strong House. Seven of those sponsors are Republicans, while three are Democrats and one is a Libertarian. In addition to this, a pair of Senators support the bill to legalize adult-use cannabis in Wyoming.

The likelihood of this bill being welcomed by residents is high, what with a December 2020 study published by the Wyoming Survey and Analysis Center (WYSAC) at the University of Wyoming revealing that 54 percent of state residents back the idea of legalizing cannabis for recreational purposes.

Furthermore, WYSAC researchers say that 85 percent of Wyomingites are supportive of medical cannabis legalization.