Marijuana legalization in Wyoming passed its first hurdle in the Legislature on Friday, after a 6-3 vote in support of a bill in the House Judiciary Committee.
House Bill 209, sponsored by committee chairman Rep. Jared Olsen, R-Cheyenne, will now head to the House floor for debate.
Reps. Dan Laursen, R-Powell; Rachel Rodriguez-Williams, R-Cody; and Art Washut, R-Casper, voted against the bill. Reps. Barry Crago, R-Buffalo, and Ember Oakley, R-Riverton, voted to send the discussion to the House, but said their committee vote won’t necessarily translate to a yes vote there.
Another bill that would allocate funds to study the potential implementation of medical marijuana in Wyoming, sponsored by Rep. Bill Henderson, R-Cheyenne, was discussed at the same time by the committee. No motion was taken on that bill Friday.
Wyoming is one of six states where marijuana use and possession remain entirely illegal.
Committee members heard four hours of comment from stakeholders and members of the public, covering marijuana’s positive medicinal uses, the potential for abuse and addiction and the projected economic benefits of legalization.