Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Wyoming moves to legalize therapeutic cannabis

Activists in Wyoming will begin collecting signatures for an initiative to legalize cannabis for medical reasons.

A recent study has found evidence that cannabis is not a gateway to abuse of stronger compounds.
The researchers based their conclusions on data gathered from Monitoring the Future, an ongoing study of the behaviors, attitudes and values of American high school students. Roughly 15,000 high school seniors are assessed each year. Paul Armentano, deputy director of the pro-marijuana group NORML, said the study findings weren't surprising. "Science has consistently shown that environmental factors, such as ready access to other illicit substances, and personal traits, such as a propensity toward risk-seeking behavior, are associated with the decision to move from marijuana to other illicit substances," Armentano said. "But marijuana's drug chemistry likely does not play a significant role, if any role, in this decision." [Marijuana Study Counters 'Gateway' Theory]
“The change in drug arrests has been nonexistent,” said Sweetwater County, Wyoming Sheriff Mike Lowell. “You’re going to deal with it, you’re not going to stop it.”

Colorado's cannabis industry has not only not telegraphed an increase in prosecutions for possession in Lowell's county charges have dropped 18 percent from 2013 to 2014 and only 8 percent of arrests in Wyoming involved the herb. Even felony cannabis seizures by Highway Patrol troopers are trending downward and the number of pounds of confiscated product dropped 50 percent from 2012 to 2013.

Sheriff Lowell has his deputies undergo other interdiction training saying his agency is far more concerned with methamphetamine and heroin.

Chris Christian is director of the Wyoming chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML). Her group has filed to put a proposal to legalize therapeutic cannabis on the state's ballot after Denver law firm, Hoban & Feola LLC volunteered to help write the measure. A statewide poll conducted last year by the University of Wyoming found 72 percent of Wyoming residents support medical cannabis.

Want to encourage young people to become involved in the democratic process in your state? Get legal cannabis on the ballot.

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