Walk for Weed: Wyoming NORML takes to the state capitol (interview)

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Wyoming NORML isn’t nearly as entrenched as its colleagues in Colorado, but don’t count the scrappy activists in Cheyenne, Jackson and Sinclair out of the fight.

Even though conservative Wyoming has reminded everyone a number of times to “not bring your Colorado-purchased marijuana into Wyoming,” there is a movement in the state to push decriminalization and legalization.

A few weeks ago, the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws submitted its ballot proposal to the secretary of state’s office in Cheyenne — and it looks as if it could make the 2016 ballot. Wyoming Rep. Sue Wallis, R-Recluse, died on Jan. 28 — but before her unexpected death she was pro-medical marijuana and was planning on introducing a bill that would decriminalize marijuana for medical purposes.

Next up on the state’s docket is the Walk for Weed, an awareness-raising event that will start at 9 a.m. Monday, Feb. 10 at the Old Union Station Depot in Cheyenne and make its way to the Wyoming Capitol. We chatted with Chris Christian, executive director of Wyoming NORML (and a self-employed forensic bookkeeper based in Jackson), about her expectations for the event.

The Cannabist: The forecast for Feb. 10 is pretty snowy at the moment.

Christian: We don’t mind the snow. We just hope it’s not below zero.

The Cannabist: What do you hope to accomplish with the Walk for Weed?

Christian: We want to legalize cannabis in Wyoming — medical, recreational and hemp. We want to just legalize the plant. We’ve looked at what most states have done, at what Colorado and Washington have done, and in every step they’ve been successful in implementing their programs.

MAP: Check out our state-by-state marijuana map.

The Cannabist: So you’re raising awareness.

Christian: We want people to know about the cost of the drug war, the number of people who are incarcerated because of this plant and the suffering that could be alleviated if people could choose this medication and use it for whatever ails them.

The Cannabist: Do you find that people are surprised that Wyoming has its own NORML office?

Christian: Yes, and we’re calling attention to the fact that there is a movement here in Wyoming to legalize cannabis, and we’re hoping it’ll draw monetary support. We have no advertising money. All this, it’s low-budget financed totally on member donations, and so far we’re not even breaking even. I’ve put my own money into this, and I won’t even say how much. But we have almost 3,000 people who like our Facebook page.

The Cannabist: Where does the decriminalization movement stand in Wyoming?

Christian: Sue Wallis passed away a week ago in Cheyenne by a heart attack. It’s terrible news, and I don’t think there’s anybody who will pick her bill up. One of the Democrats in the House of Representatives has introduced a bill for decriminalization of up to an ounce.

The Cannabist: How many people are you hoping will show up at the Walk for Weed?

Christian: We’re hoping to get 300-500, and we do have some people coming up from Colorado — including our keynote speaker Matt Brown and we’re also having a documentary film crew there.

The Cannabist: Have you been down to Colorado in the last month since the recreational marijuana shops opened?

Christian: I haven’t been able to get there, but I do plan to be in Fort Collins on Sunday night.

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