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House Representative Evan Simpson gives updates on marijuana bills and gas tax increase bill

House Representative of District 21, Evan Simpson, says with the session coming to a close soon the two marijuana bills that were considered did not make it out of the House and the gas tax increase is dead, but the tolling process bill is still under consideration.

He says there was a recreational marijuana bill similar to what Colorado has and a medicinal one similar to what Utah has. He says he did not support either bill, but for different reasons.

“We’ve watched what has happened in Colorado,” Simpson said. “The effects of marijuana in Colorado are devastating, statistics are very clear. We do not want full legalization of marijuana in our state.”

The medicinal bill, however, he says he did not support because he didn’t like the language of the bill. He says it is good for those that may really need it, but he wants specific answers like who writes the prescription, who fills it out, the strength of the drug, etc.

“Those have to be very well written in order to not create a black market,” Simpson said. “So, I did not feel comfortable with that bill.”

He says it was decided that the two bills needed to be set aside and will be debated in committees in the summer. He says hopefully that will allow a better medical marijuana bill to be written.

He also discussed the gas tax increase bill which would have increased the tax from 24 cents per gallon to 33 cents per gallon. The legislation is to provide funds to the Wyoming Department of Transportation. He says WYDOT wants to fix pot holes and help maintain the roads in the state, but just does not have the money from the federal government or state revenues to do those things.

“(WYDOT) asked the legislature to consider several means to inject more revenue into their process,” Simpson said.

One was the gas tax increase which did not advance and the other is the bill to establish tolls for Insterstate-80. He says it is something that many other states in America do and so there are ways to make the process fairly simple.

“The highway department is saying ‘We really need some money our I-80 is going downhill too rapidly'”, Simpson said. “So, that’s on the table.”

He says he will likely vote no on this bill because he believes the timing is just not good as the state is trying to rebuild its economy after the COVID-19 pandemic. He says he is not sure where this legislation is going, but he thinks it will not get out of the House.

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