Pubdate: Mon, 19 May 2014
Source: Billings Gazette, The (MT)
Copyright: 2014 The Billings Gazette
Author: Laura Hancock, Casper Star-Tribune


Three Casper residents demonstrated for the legalization of medical 
marijuana and industrial hemp products Saturday, part of what they 
say will be regular demonstrations at Conwell Park.

As people in passing vehicles stared or honked -- one person gave the 
group a thumbs-down sign -- demonstrators held signs that said "Help 
end marijuana prohibition," "Cannabis -- fuel, paper, food and 
medicine" and "Cannabis cures cancer."

The demonstrators are part of the new group Wyoming Cannabis Activists.

The organization had simultaneous demonstrations at the Cheyenne 
Depot in the capital city, at which 10 people showed up, and in 
Jackalope Square in Douglas, at which local resident and U.S. Senate 
Republican candidate Thomas Bleming demonstrated, said Marcia 
Stuelpnagel, co-founder of Wyoming Cannabis Activists.

Stuelpnagel, 37, was diagnosed with cancer while living in Wyoming, 
she said. Having seen the effects of chemotherapy and radiation on 
her mother, she moved to Vancouver, Washington, for two years and 
began legally using cannabis oil. It also helped with depression, 
post-traumatic stress disorder and bipolar disorder, she said.

"I was sleeping 16 hours a day," she said. "I was always tired. I 
didn't have an appetite. Then I slept eight hours a day (after using 
cannabis oil.) I had so much energy. I had a life again."

Stuelpnagel would like to continue using cannabis in Wyoming, which 
is why she helped form Wyoming Cannabis Activists. The organization 
would like to get an initiative on the 2016 ballot to legalize the 
drug for medical use. Proponents also want industrial hemp products 
to be legal.

Their numbers were small in Casper, but demonstrator Kristine Nelson, 
who supports marijuana legalization for all purposes, said support is wide.

"They're scared to lose their jobs," Nelson said of supporters. 
"They're scared what others will think. There's more people than you 
see on the sidewalk."

The group was in Conwell Park, across the street from the Wyoming 
Medical Center, which they said was perfect for their message of 
support for cannabis for medicinal purposes. They plan to demonstrate 
in the afternoon every other Saturday through October.

Wyoming Cannabis Activists is just one group that's attempting to 
have marijuana legalized. Wyoming NORML is also working on an 
initiative for the 2016 ballot to legalize pot for all uses.

The organization has submitted a draft initiative to the Wyoming 
Secretary of State's Office three times, attempting to make the 
language in the initiative conform with current laws.

Jackson resident Chris Christian, executive director of Wyoming 
NORML, said an attorney is working on the initiative so the group can 
submit it a fourth time.

Once the Secretary of State's Office approves it, the organization 
must gather roughly 37,000 signatures --- the exact number will be 
derived from votes in the 2014 election --- for it to appear on the 
2016 ballot, said Peggy Nighswonger, state elections director.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom