As Wyoming considers marijuana reform, report shows supporters, critics often overstate benefits, risks – Oil City News

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CASPER, Wyo. — People opposed to or in favor of marijuana legal reform may make dramatic claims about what can happen when marijuana is legalized, but a 2021 report from the Cato Institute suggests that strong claims from both marijuana reform advocates and critics “are substantially overstated and in some cases entirely without real‐​world support.”

The National Libertarian Party is supporting some Wyoming organizations in an effort to put two marijuana reform initiatives before Wyoming voters on the 2022 General Election Ballot. Casper City Council member Shawn Johnson, who has been working in support of those efforts, said Tuesday that two ballot initiatives aiming to legalize medical marijuana for personal use and to decriminalize cannabis for personal use in Wyoming are ready to move into a signature-gathering phase.

Johnson said that organizers have received word that Secretary of State Ed Buchanan has conditionally certified the two ballot initiatives. In order to get the questions on the ballot, the initiatives will need to collect 41,776 signatures. That number is “equal to 15% of those who voted in the preceding general election” in the state, according to the Wyoming Secretary of State’s Office.

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In response to Oil City’s coverage of Johnson’s comments on Tuesday, some people commenting on the story via Facebook expressed concern that marijuana reform could lead to dramatic increases in violent crime. The Cato report suggests such concerns are likely overblown.

The Cato report compares data on crime and other factors for the following states which have fully legalized recreational marijuana use:

Colorado (legalized in 2012)Washington (2012)Oregon (2014)Alaska (2014)California (2016)Nevada (2016)Maine (2016)Massachusetts (2016)Vermont (2018)Michigan (2019)Illinois (2020)

The Cato report looked at Uniform Crime Reporting data from the Federal Bureau of Investigation for

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