Wyoming Medical Marijuana Advocates Look Forward To Collecting Signatures [VIDEO]
With six frustrating months behind them, those driving the effort to legalize medical marijuana look forward to the 12 ahead of them, they said Friday.
"It's a new day," said Madalene Ordes, treasurer of the 420 Wyoming Political Action Committee. "We didn't make 2016, but by God we're still here and we're not going away."
Despite an enthusiastic start, the movement ran into its own political infighting which stalled the effort.
"There was a time that we had a lot of steam and a lot of us were really pushing hard to get this done," Ordes said. "And had we not had, I'm just going to call it a train wreck, that we had, we should have been done. This should not have been as difficult as it was."
The petition drive has collected about 7,120 signatures so far, and its waiting for signatures to come from Sweetwater, Fremont, Carbon, Albany and Sheridan counties, said Scott Sidman, deputy director of the Wyoming chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML).
"The biggest misconception was everybody was under the thought that this petition only had six months to actually work and operate," Sidman said. "According to state statutes, when a petition is actually registered and put out there it actually has a lifespan of 18 months."
So now Wyoming NORML has until February 2017 to reach their goal of about 26,700 signatures, and Sidman said he's hoping for between 50,000 and 80,000 signatures. If successful, the initiative will be on the 2018 general election ballot.
The advocates also have to overcome the stigma that people think their initiative is about the recreational use of marijuana. It is rather about the legalization of medical marijuana, known as SBD oil or Cannabidiol. They said it will help patients with cancer, chronic pain, Alzheimer's and other diseases.
"We have a pretty archaic way of thinking in Wyoming," said Amber Sparks, spokeswoman for 420 Wyoming.
Wyoming is being isolated among states that have or are working toward the legalization of medical marijuana, Ordes said. "We're stuck between a whole bunch of states that are legal, and we as Wyomingites have no choice but to deal with this problem."