With every state in America having its own laws regarding cannabis, it could be quite frustrating to keep up with the different developments in various states. In this short series Cannabisradar.info will try to shed some light on the matter, focusing on the political debate and the possibilities for the near future.
Part 3 covers the historical and current status of cannabis in the following US states: Arizona, Tennessee, Wisconsin and Wyoming
For many years now medical use of cannabis is legal in the state of Arizona. At the end of the 20th century a drug policy reform failed due to veto referendum, after being initially accepted. Medical marijuana proposal from 2002 did not receive enough votes in the ballot. It was 2010 when the ballot finally got 50.1% of the vote and from this moment on medicinal use of cannabis became legal. Another push for full legalization narrowly failed in 2016 with less than 70,000 votes difference. While the people of Arizona are thorn on the matter, many politicians seem to oppose the legalization, while businesses are not shy to spend in support of the cause. Cannabis companies, native to Arizona, are the backbone of the new ballot proposal for full legalization that should happen in 2020.
Traditionally the state of Tennessee is heavily opposed to the idea of legal cannabis use. Still, some changes went through legislation in 2015. A bill was signed, that allowed the possession and use of high-CBD/low-THC cannabis oil to treat a limited number of severe conditions, including epilepsy. The bill has no provisions for legal sale, thus requiring patients to acquire the drug outside the state of Tennessee; possession of CBD oil without proof that it was obtained legally outside of Tennessee is considered a misdemeanor. This year saw an attempt for further legalization and the establishment of dispensaries in Tennessee. The bill, however, never made it to the state’s Senate, since the proposal did not get enough support to pass. The focus of the lawmakers in support of cannabis is shifting towards implementing the changes next year.
Cannabis in Wisconsin is illegal with the exception of non-psychoactive medical CBD oil and cannabis containing no more than 0.3 THC. It was legalized in 2014, but under tight controls and for a very limited number of conditions, primarily seizures. Then it turned out, because of wording and CBD being not approved by the FDA, no doctor in the state would actually prescribe it. Positive changes came in a bill from 2017, fixing the issues of the previous bill. Wisconsin was historically a major producer of industrial hemp until 1958, and the 2017 law has also re-opened Wisconsin for hemp farming. In early 2019, the new Wisconsin governor Tony Evers announced his plans to reform cannabis laws, as part of his budget proposal. This resonates well with the public opinion, as 59% of Wisconsinites agree with cannabis legalization. Unfortunately, the Republican opposition omitted those sections from the proposed budget. More and more voices speak in favor of decriminalization, but at the end of the day the problem remains 100% political in the State of Wisconsin; while the Republicans have majority, changes look unlikely.
Wyoming has some of the strictest cannabis laws in the USA. Cannabis itself is not allowed for medical purposes, but a 2015 law allows limited use of non-psychoactive CBD oil. However, this law does not provide in-state access. Possession of under three ounces of cannabis is a misdemeanor that can be punished with up to a year in jail and a $1000 fine; possession of over three ounces is considered a felony. Several ballot attempts for decriminalization of medicinal use have failed since 2015. The only positive is that, as the years pass by, more and more of the state’s population gets behind the idea. A 2016 study by the University of Wyoming showed that 81 percent of Wyoming residents supported legalizing prescribed medical cannabis. The start of 2019 saw a bill proposal in the state’s Senate for establishing a tightly regulated system for its distribution and control. The measure failed to make it out of the committee due to time constraints and ultimately failed to achieve any change for this year. We can only wait and see what the lawmakers in Wyoming have planned for 2020.
The Cannabisradar-Team wishes you an nice day!