Bill proposes regulation of marijuana in Wyoming, $30.7 million per year to school fund

WYOMING — Teton County Representative Mike Yin along with 13 other Wyoming lawmakers are sponsoring a bill outlining the regulation of marijuana in the state of Wyoming. The bill number, HB0209 was assigned yesterday, March 2.

The bill will allow for the sale, purchase, possession, and cultivation of marijuana, regulated by the state of Wyoming. If the bill passes, a person in Wyoming over the age of 21 may possess up to three ounces of retail marijuana, 16 ounces of solid marijuana retail product, 72 ounces of retail liquid product, and 30 grams of retail marijuana concentrate.

Wyomingites over the age of 21 would also be permitted to grow marijuana for personal consumption, with up to 12 flowering female plants and possess up to 16 ounces of retail marijuana in their homes, “provided that any amount more than two and one half (2 1/2) ounces shall be stored in a container or area with locks or other security devices that restrict access to the container or area”

Reps. Jared Olsen (R-Laramie), Mark Baker (R-Sweetwater) Eric Barlow (R-Campbell/Converse), Landon Brown (R-Laramie), Marshall Burt (L-Sweetwater, Cathy Connolly (D-Albany), Karlee Provenza (D-Albany), John Romero-Martinez (R-Laramie), Pat Sweeney (R-Natrona), Cyrus Western (R-Sheridan), Mike Yin (R-Teton) and Dan Zwonitzer (R-Laramie) and Senators Cale Case (R-Fremont) and Chris Rothfuss (D-Albany) sponsored the bill.

HB0209 seeks to establish licensing requirements, production procedures, testing, taxing, and the sale of marijuana. It also generally provides regulations for marijuana-related activities and prohibiting discrimination based on marijuana activities. The bill will outline specific privacy rights, amend criminal penalities, establish civil penalties for the possession of specified amounts, define terms, repeal obsolete provisions, and establish additional offenses related to marijuana.

“To ensure that no retail marijuana grown or processed by a marijuana establishment is sold or otherwise transferred except by a retail marijuana store or as otherwise authorized by law, the board shall develop and maintain a seed-to-sale tracking system that tracks retail marijuana from either the seed or immature plant stage until the retail marijuana or retail marijuana product is sold to a customer at a retail marijuana store,” states the bill.

Anticipated fiscal impacts include $30.7 million per year to the School Foundation Fund, 15.35 million per year to the Local sources fund, and 3.1 million in license fees in the fiscal year 2022. License fees are expected to fall after the first year, with $860,000 projected for the following years. The projections are based on sales of marijuana and marijuana products in the fiscal year 2020 in Colorado. The projections were adjusted based on the population of Wyoming.

If the bill passes, Wyoming can expect $49.15 million in revenue from retail marijuana in the fiscal year 2022. In November, Governor Mark Gordon proposed additional budget cuts to state agencies averaging 15%.

“A well-funded educational system is a source of pride and economic opportunity for our state. It is essential for our families and our children just as low taxes are,” Governor Gordon wrote in his budget message. “Our circumstances require that we evaluate all school spending and consider its importance to our state’s future. These are dollars that go into local economies too. I appreciate the Legislature’s Recalibration Committee’s hard work on this topic and look forward to their proposals.”

Currently, the state has Forfeiture Fund 609, which collects about $649,645 annually in cash seizures of drug-related crimes. approximately 50% of these seizures were from marijuana-related crimes.

According to the proposed legislation, The Department of Agriculture assumes an application fee of $5,000 would apply to each license type, per the proposed legislation. The Department estimates 100 cultivation facilities, 50 manufacturing facilities, 25 secure transporters, five testing facilities, 200 retail stores, and 50 microbusinesses. The Department notes that additional fees may be determined in the rule-making process.

Prior to the first committee meeting held to consider the bill, the Attorney General’s Office, the Department of Agriculture, and the Department of Revenue will present their administrative fiscal impact estimates.

During the 2020 election, Montana and South Dakota voters legalized marijuana through ballot initiatives. 15 states now have legalized recreational marijuana or voted to legalize it; 36 states permit medical marijuana.

About The Author

Buckrail @ Lindsay

Lindsay Vallen is a Community News Reporter covering a little bit of everything; with an interest in politics, wildlife, and amplifying community voices. Originally from the east coast, Lindsay has called Wilson, Wyoming home since 2017. In her free time, she enjoys snowboarding, hiking, cooking, and completing the Jackson Hole Daily crosswords.

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