Cheyenne City Councilman Working On Weed Decriminalization Proposal
Cheyenne Ward III City Councilman Richard Johnson is working on a possible ordinance to decriminalize small quantities of marijuana inside city limits.
Johnson says the proposal is still theoretical at this point, and many of the specifics--such as the amount of pot that would qualify for the classification--remain to be worked out. He also stresses that decriminalization is not the same as legalization.
Marijuana remains illegal under Wyoming law, despite some recent efforts in the Wyoming legislature to change that status. But decriminalization would allow people caught with small quantities of weed to be fined instead of potentially being sentenced to jail time.
That is different than legalization, which would remove all penalties. What fines might be in place under the proposal have yet to be worked out.
Johnson also says that if the Cheyenne ordinance is approved, he has been in touch with people in other Wyoming communities who might consider trying to pass similar local ordinances. Johnson's proposal also would remove local drug paraphernalia laws from the books.
Johnson says he thinks it will be difficult to pass the ordinance. But he says the next question if it does pass is "Who would sue us?" over the ordinance.
When asked if the city could decriminalize pot when it's still illegal under state law, Johnson said ''See, that is the interesting part of this. It will be interesting to see if we get sued. Because if we don't get sued, then basically the police enforce the laws that we write. So it would be like Ok, it's not enforceable under city (ordinance)."
But he notes that would only apply to Cheyenne Police Officers, not Laramie County Sheriff's deputies or Wyoming Highway Patrol troopers. He also notes that the ordinance would have no effect on DUI laws for people driving under the influence of marijuana.
You can hear the Johnson interview on the ''Weekend in Wyoming' program below. Johnson also discussed a number of other topics, including new open container regulations in the city.
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