(RJ Sangosti, Denver Post file)

Wyoming lawmaker Byrd says pot decriminalization remains priority

CHEYENNE — A Wyoming state legislator whose bid to decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana failed this session isn’t giving up on the idea, the Wyoming Tribune Eagle reported.

In a story Monday, James Byrd tells the paper that marijuana legislation, jobs and education would be among his priorities if he is re-elected in November. The Laramie County Democrat is running for his fourth term.

In February, the state House of Representatives voted 45-15 against introducing Byrd’s proposal for small civil penalties for possession of an ounce or less of marijuana. Under current state law, it’s a felony to possess more than three ounces of marijuana, and a misdemeanor that could lead to jail time for smaller amounts. Byrd opposes sending people to jail for having small amounts of marijuana.

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“I knew it was not going to pass,” Byrd told the Tribune Eagle. “But I want to put the message out there to the Legislature, the people in the state and the rest of the country that we are not this bastion of antiquated values and ideas.”

He said he would at the least like to see the state recognize the legality of medical marijuana cards issued in other states. Neighboring Colorado has legalized marijuana for both medical and recreational use.

On other issues, Byrd called for Medicaid expansion and said he would like to revisit proposals for raising the state’s minimum wage and reverse a 2013 bill that allows employers to forfeit an employee’s unused vacation and sick pay if that employee is terminated.


Information from: Wyoming Tribune Eagle

This story was first published on DenverPost.com