Lawmakers to Consider Pot Decriminalization Bill
Wyoming lawmakers will, once again, consider a bill to decriminalize small amounts of marijuana when they convene in February.
Representative Jim Byrd, D-Cheyenne, is sponsoring a bill that would make possessing less than an ounce of pot a civil penalty for first and second-time offenders.
People caught with less than half an ounce would be fined $50 and anyone with between a half ounce and an ounce would be fined $100.
"You can tell by the size and the amount that they're not traffickers, they're no where near habitual users," said Byrd. "Is it really necessary to just drop an anvil on somebody's life for a small amount of marijuana, either accidentally or willfully transported into the state?"
Byrd sponsored similar legislation in 2014 and 2015. He says his bill isn't just about marijuana, it's about sentence reform.
"We have a criminal justice system that really, really needs to be looked at," said Byrd. "There are people who will just vote no because it has the word marijuana in the bill, but there are other people who are starting to look at the bigger picture."
Byrd says prosecuting people caught with small amounts of pot costs the judicial system a ton of money and is a waste of time because most cases end with a probation sentence.
"I'm all for coming down very harshly on those people who are transporting large amounts of marijuana because that's trafficking," said Byrd. "It's the kid, the 18-year-old or the young person, who has a couple of joints or something around that or even a half smoked or part of something that you can definitely see is of a personal use in the nature of where you encounter this individual."