Wyoming Cannabis and Firearm Laws for Medical Cannabis Patients
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Cannabis is strictly prohibited in Wyoming, which has some of the most stringent cannabis regulations in the United States. The state does not permit the use of cannabis for medical purposes, except for limited usage of non-psychoactive Cannabidiol (CBD) as allowed by a 2015 law. Therefore, Wyoming cannabis access is pretty limited.
On July 1, 2015, Wyoming’s HB 32 became law without the governor’s signature or veto. This law permits registered individuals with intractable epilepsy to use and possess marijuana extracts that are low in tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and high in cannabidiol (CBD), without facing certain criminal penalties.
Only Wyoming residents suffering from intractable epilepsy or seizure disorders qualify for the program. Minors with intractable epilepsy can use CBD oils under the law, supervised by a parent or legal guardian.
A “hemp extract registration card” is issued to qualified patients or their parents/legal guardians. In order to get the card, the Wyoming Department of Health must receive a statement signed by a neurologist confirming the patient’s condition and possible benefits from hemp extract use.
The law doesn’t allow in-state cultivation of marijuana or hemp oil production. It’s applicable to “hemp extracts,” which are marijuana extracts with less than 0.3% THC and at least 5% CBD by weight. Patients cannot grow their own industrial hemp for making extracts.
The law doesn’t establish in-state access for hemp extracts, but possessed extracts need to be accompanied by a certificate of analysis (COA) for THC and CBD percentages.
Although Wyoming permits patients to acquire specific low-THC items from external jurisdictions, it lacks any internal production or distribution mechanism.
The state also imposes arbitrary restrictions on THC levels and neglects to safeguard patients against various forms of civil discrimination, including in housing, employment, organ transplants, and parental rights.
In 2015, the Wyoming chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) sought to introduce legal medical marijuana through a ballot initiative in the 2016 election.
The proposal aimed to permit the use of recreational marijuana for individuals aged 21 and above, as well as the use of medical marijuana for those with the endorsement of a doctor and additional approval from a legal guardian if a patient is a minor.
The plan intended to make the public display of three ounces or less of marijuana a non-criminal offense, while establishing sanctions for the possession of four ounces or greater of marijuana.
Wyoming Cannabis Advocacy and NORML Efforts
The Wyoming branch of NORML also intended to propose an initiative in 2016, aiming to legalize both medical and recreational marijuana. However, they opted to prioritize getting medical marijuana on the 2016 ballot first, deferring the effort to legalize recreational usage for a future time. Unfortunately, the initiative didn’t meet the criteria to appear on the 2016 ballot.
In 2017, supporters sought 25,000 signatures to include the Peggy A. Kelley Wyoming Cannabis Act of 2016 on the 2018 ballot as a public initiative but fell short of the required signatures by the February 14 deadline.
Moving to March 2021, lawmakers introduced a bill to legalize both recreational and medical cannabis. However, the bill didn’t progress in the Wyoming House of Representatives due to a missed deadline.
On June 11, 2021, the Libertarian Party of Wyoming introduced two ballot initiatives: one for medical cannabis legalization and another to decriminalize personal use. Following the certification of 100 signatures, the Secretary of State for Wyoming approved a general signature collection for the initiatives on August 11, 2021.
For each initiative to be placed on the 2022 general election ballot, 41,776 signatures were needed. Libertarian State Representative Marshall Burt — previously involved in a failed legislative attempt to legalize cannabis — supported these initiatives. He expressed confidence that they would gather sufficient signatures.
These initiatives would be the first to appear on a Wyoming ballot in 30 years. However, in 2023, these two significant efforts failed. While enough signatures were collected for the 2024 ballot, the initiatives didn’t qualify due to geographical reasons. In Cheyenne, an attempt to decriminalize cannabis also ended in failure.
Under the current laws, possessing less than three ounces (85 grams) of cannabis is considered a misdemeanor and could result in a sentence of up to one year in jail and a fine of $1000. Possession of more than three ounces is classified as a felony offense.
Does Having a Medical Cannabis Card Mean Not Being Eligible for a Gun License in Wyoming?
Given that cannabis is illegal in Wyoming except for limited use of non-psychoactive Cannabidiol (CBD) under certain circumstances, it’s important to consider the potential implications for gun owners or individuals seeking firearms licenses in the state.
Federal law, specifically the Gun Control Act of 1968, prohibits the possession or sale of firearms and ammunition to individuals who are “unlawful users of or addicted to any controlled substance.” Since cannabis is classified as a Schedule I controlled substance under federal law, anyone who uses cannabis, even if it’s legal under state law, could be considered an “unlawful user” by federal standards.
In states where medical or recreational cannabis use is legal, there can be conflicts between state and federal laws. While some states have taken steps to address these conflicts, such as allowing medical cannabis users to also possess firearms, the federal stance remains consistent in considering cannabis use as a disqualifying factor for firearm ownership.
Given Wyoming’s strict stance on cannabis and the federal prohibition on firearm possession for cannabis users, individuals in Wyoming who are using even non-psychoactive CBD might still face challenges when it comes to obtaining firearms or firearm licenses. I
t’s advisable to seek legal advice from experts familiar with both federal and Wyoming state laws to understand the potential ramifications of holding a medical cannabis card and owning firearms in the state. Laws and regulations can change, so staying informed is crucial.
Can You Take Your Gun to a Dispensary in Wyoming?
Wyoming operates as a shall-issue state for Concealed Firearms Permits (CFP). The application process occurs at the county sheriff’s office and is subsequently authorized by the Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI). There’s a degree of discretion for local law enforcement to decide whether to grant a concealed weapons permit.
Purchasing a firearm privately in Wyoming doesn’t necessitate a permit, background check, waiting period, or registration. However, acquiring a handgun from a Federal Firearms Dealer requires a federal background check. Holding a Wyoming CFP exempts individuals from the federal background check prerequisite before a firearm purchase.
Open carry is legally permissible without a permit for individuals aged 18 or above who possess the right to carry firearms legally. Since July 1, 2021, permitless concealed carry in Wyoming is lawful for U.S. legal residents aged 21 or older, eligible to possess firearms. The minimum age for handgun possession and purchase is 21, while it’s 18 for shotguns or rifles.
To obtain a Wyoming CFP, applicants must also undergo state-approved firearms training or demonstrate firearm experience through organized shooting events or military service. Wyoming doesn’t issue permits to non-residents. Reciprocity is observed, with Wyoming recognizing permits from states that acknowledge Wyoming’s permits.
Wyoming law prohibits carrying concealed firearms in certain places like schools and establishments mainly involved in alcohol sales and consumption are off-limits, but it does not explicitly mention dispensaries or CBD retailers.
Since physical stores selling CBD are not listed in the categories where concealed carry is restricted, taking your gun into these places in Wyoming might be legal.
However, it’s important to exercise caution and ensure you are complying with all relevant laws and regulations. Always verify the latest state and local laws regarding firearm possession and concealed carry before bringing your gun to a dispensary or any other establishment. If you have any doubts or concerns, consulting legal experts knowledgeable about Wyoming’s firearm laws is recommended.
Can You Consume CBD and Own a Gun in Wyoming?
In Wyoming, CBD is legal to possess, but some regulations must be considered. The state follows FDA rules, meaning CBD edibles and supplements can be purchased online from states where they’re legal. While there’s no age limit for possession, those under 21 might have trouble buying CBD in stores. Doctors can recommend CBD, but a prescription isn’t necessary.
It’s important to know that legal CBD must come from industrial hemp with less than 0.3% THC. The final product also must have under 0.3% THC. Quality and legality can vary due to limited industry regulations, so checking third-party lab test results is advisable.
No specific laws directly prohibit CBD consumption while owning a gun. However, it’s important to consider federal regulations that pertain to gun ownership and drug use.
Under federal law, it’s illegal to possess firearms if you are an unlawful user of or addicted to a controlled substance. While CBD is not considered a controlled substance, it’s derived from hemp, closely related to marijuana.
And since CBD products can contain trace amounts of THC, it’s possible that a positive drug test could be used as evidence of drug use, potentially affecting your ability to legally possess firearms.
If you’re a gun owner in Wyoming and considering CBD use, it’s advisable to consult legal experts who are familiar with both state and federal laws to make an informed decision.
Can I Own a Gun if My Spouse Has A Medical Cannabis Card in Wyoming?
No direct legal barriers exist to owning a gun if your spouse consumes CBD in Wyoming. However, it’s important to be aware of potential complexities.
Under federal law, gun ownership is prohibited for unlawful users of controlled substances. While CBD itself is not considered a controlled substance, products with higher THC content could trigger concerns.
Ensuring that your spouse’s CBD products undergo third-party testing to confirm THC levels below 0.3%, as required by federal law, can help mitigate any potential issues. Researching state-specific laws regarding CBD and gun ownership is advisable, as regulations can vary.
To navigate this complex landscape, seeking legal advice from professionals knowledgeable about both firearm regulations and CBD laws is recommended.
Can I Own a Gun if I Have an Expired Medical Card?
Since CBD is legal and medical marijuana cards are not available in the state of Wyoming, the possession of an expired medical card related to medical marijuana should not fall under the “unlawful user of or addicted to a controlled substance” category, which is typically associated with federal regulations on gun ownership.
Can You Own a Gun if You Work at a Dispensary?
It’s best to approach this situation with caution. If the dispensary you work at were to deal with products containing THC levels exceeding 0.3%, this could potentially raise concerns when applying federal regulations to gun ownership.
To ensure clarity and compliance, seek legal counsel from professionals familiar with both state and federal gun ownership laws.