By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily
A state representative from Laramie recently crunched the numbers and determined Wyoming would save millions with a recently introduced marijuana legalization bill.
Rep. Karlee Provenza, D-Laramie, asked during a presentation on House Bill 209 (which would legalize medical and recreational marijuana in the state) last week what the savings to the Wyoming Department of Corrections would be if the bill was approved.
“They reported back that approximately 335 people are incarcerated for drug offenses, 2,501 are under supervision, and the total cost is approximately $19,498,525,” Provenza tweeted.
However, DOC Director Daniel Shannon said the department was unable to identify those who were incarcerated or under supervision specifically for marijuana possession.
According to the Legislative Service Office, Wyoming would see $30.7 million in tax revenue increases every fiscal year with the legalization of marijuana.
Provenza, along with a number of other legislators (including Reps. Eric Barlow, R-Gillette, Cathy Connolly, D-Laramie, and Cyrus Western, R-Big Horn, and Sens. Cale Case, R-Lander and Chris Rothfuss, D-Laramie) is a co-sponsor of the bill, which was introduced by Rep. Jared Olsen, R-Cheyenne.
“Legalizing marijuana will save millions and provide millions more in tax revenues,” Provenza added on Twitter. “This is far better for Wyoming than continuing to criminalize personal choices and freedom. The cost in money and human lives is tragic and ineffective.”