Wyoming could legalize marijuana, making border cities like Evanston destination for Utahns

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FILE – In this Sept. 14, 2014 file photo swaths of cannabis are pictured n the village of Bni Hmed in the Ketama Abdelghaya valley, northern Morocco. Morocco’s government on Thursday approved a landmark bill that would legalize non-recreational uses of marijuana. Largely motivated by growing international demand for medical and industrial cannabis, the move will set the North African kingdom — among the top global producers — on the path of creating a regulated market for an industry that has long been dominated by drug traffickers. (AP Photo/Abdeljalil Bounhar, File)

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EVANSTON, Wyoming (ABC4) – Folks have been known to leave the Beehive State for a drive across the border, where they pick up beer and fireworks in Evanston, Wy. — then drive back to Utah.

Could that happen with recreational marijuana, too?

Currently, House Bill 209 is heading to the House floor in Wyoming. The bill would tax and regulate recreational marijuana — making it legal for those 21 and over to cultivate and possess certain quantities of cannabis.

“I thought, this isn’t going anywhere — this is Wyoming,” said Kent Williams, Evanston’s mayor.

“To be honest with you, I’d be surprised if it passed. But I’m surprised it’s gone as far as it has. So I don’t know,” added Williams.

The bill states marijuana would be taxed at a rate of 30 percent, with projected annual state revenues of about $47 million. Williams says that would help the state economy — and Evanston’s.

“We love the fact that folks from the Wasatch Front come up here and do things in Evanston, and in Wyoming, and honestly — spend their money. And we appreciate that. We want that to continue. I don’t know I’m real thrilled about this reason,” said Williams.

“I think this is a bad idea,” he added.

Utah Highway Patrol continues to watch for impaired drivers, and says drug-only DUIS have gone up by about 200 every year since 2018.

“We increased that a couple hundred from last year, in a year where traffic volume was down 15 percent. We still made more drug DUI arrests, despite traffic volume being down overall,” said Street.

If you have a medical marijuana card, Street says, possession in Utah is legal. But for those bringing in marijuana from out of state, they will be “prosecuted to the full extent of the law.”

Last year, he says, troopers seized more than 2,000 lbs. of illegal cannabis, which means it was either grown on the black market or brought in from states where recreational purchase is legal.

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