While marijuana is illegal in the state of Wyoming, that hasn't stopped the state from being number one when it comes to Google searches about the drug, according to a recent report.

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Digital Third Coast, a digital marketing agency, put out a report on the popularity of marijuana across the country in states where the drug isn't fully, or at all, legal.

It also mentions the popularity of cannabis in different cities, with Cheyenne coming in seventh.

In Wyoming, the possibility of marijuana legalization has been unsuccessful, with the House Judiciary committee recently passing a medical cannabis bill in March, but then dying after failing to meet a deadline.

Frank Latta, director of the Wyoming chapter for the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, said the group is announcing a ballot initiative for both medical marijuana and recitational marijuana on Friday.

Latta, a former mayor of Gillette and representative in the Wyoming House from 2003 to 2005, said there is a large amount of opposition to legalizing cannabis in any form from lawmakers.

"The president of the senate said 'I don't care if you can turn marijuana to gold, I'll vote against it, ' and he told me this, 'I don't care if 90% of my constituents want it, I'm voting against it, it'll never come to the senate.'"

Latta said for him it's an issue of freedom, that government shouldn't play a role, and that he is personally impacted as well.

"I have two doctors in Billings that I got to for my MS (Multiple sclerosis), I have two doctors down in Colorado...I've got a doctor over in South Dakota...plus a doctor here in Wyoming. All of them have said, you would do better on medical marijuana than you are on opioids that we have to give you now. I pay these doctors to give me their best medical opinion, and when they give me their best medical opinion, the state of Wyoming won't let me go through with their medical opinion, because the legislature thinks their smarter than the doctors."

Byron Oedekoven, executive director of the Wyoming Association of Sheriffs and Chiefs of Police, said the group does not support laws legalizing medical or recreational marijuana because the drug is illegal federally.

"It's very difficult from our standpoint, for us who are sworn to uphold the law, except in this case. That's a rather slippery slope to start down, I think anyway, for ethics and standards to say we're gonna follow the law with this law but won't do it with this law. We take offense to that. Marijuana is against the law federally, why would we as law enforcement support legalizing something that's still illegal at the end of the day."

Oedekoven said Wyoming should follow the same path in regards to hemp, which was illegal federally until 2018, and wait until a change at the federal level before making a decision at the state level.

"Hemp was illegal, state and federal, many states decided that they would recognize hemp statewide, but the federal government still listed it as illegal," Oedekoven said. "So Wyoming said no to hemp because it was federally illegal. As soon as hemp was federally legal, then we worked to ensure the statute to have Wyoming's hemp work well. And we take that same position with marijuana. I don't believe in the long run that a marijuana statute would pass mustard if it ever made it to the Supreme Court."

Across Wyoming there does seem to be popular support for legalization, with a poll in 2020 by the Wyoming Survey & Analysis Center at the University of Wyoming, showing 54% of residents support adults legally possessing marijuana for personal use.

That is an increase in approval for marijuana, which was 37% in 2014, 41% in 2016, and 49% in 2018.

Image credit: cbdoracle.com 

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