Wyoming Advocates Renew Push for Medical and Adult-Use Ballot Questions

October 12, 2023 · Ganjapreneur

Advocates in Wyoming are pushing forward with plans to put adult-use and medical cannabis legalization questions on 2024 election ballots, the Star-Tribune reports. The renewed bid by Compassionate Options Wyoming, Wyoming NORML, and the Wyoming Libertarian Party comes after a misunderstanding of guidance from the secretary of state’s office led them to believe that the proposed measures did not qualify, but they did.  

Initially, the organizers believed they had thousands fewer signatures than needed, so they didn’t submit them to the secretary of state’s office before the March deadline; however, they had actually reached the benchmark. According to updated guidance from the secretary of state, the campaign must now recollect the signatures and submit them before the upcoming legislative session, which begins in January. 

The organizers’ spokesperson Apollo Pazell told the Star-Tribune that the process was “really convoluted and confusing” but that the campaign would seek to extend the process beyond the start of the session due to the confusing guidance from the secretary of state’s office.  

Wyoming requires organizers seeking to put issues on ballots to gather the number of signatures equal to 15% of votes cast in the last general election and reach that same threshold in two-thirds of the state’s counties to put the issue to voters. The petition must be signed on paper, in person. 

Once the sponsors get their petition form from the state, they have 18 months to gather the required signatures and must submit their petition with the signatures before the start of the legislative session in the year that they aim to have their initiative on the ballot. The groups gathered roughly 36,000 signatures for both initiatives before their deadline in March, Pazell said. 

When the organizers received their petition in September from the then-Secretary of State Edward Buchanan, it was impossible to know what the signature requirement would be based on 2022 voter turnout because the elections hadn’t occurred yet, the report says. The signature requirement based on 2020 voter turnout was 41,776 signatures, meaning the measures didn’t reach the 15% threshold for two-thirds of Wyoming’s counties; however, the secretary of state’s office now reports that, based on 2022 voter turnout, 29,730 signatures are required to get an initiative on the 2024 ballot.  (Full Story)

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