Medical Marijuana: Constitutional in Colorado, Not So Much in Wyoming

January 25 2011, 1:15 PM

Will former talk show host Montel Williams become the next spokesman for medical marijuana? After being busted with a marijuana pipe in a Milwaukee airport, Williams is urging officials in his home state of Maryland to support legislation making pot legal for medicinal purposes. He argues that, in his case, it's the only substance that helps him deal with the pain of multiple sclerosis (via the Associated Press). But even if Williams is successful in Maryland, that won't automatically guarantee him protections in Wisconsin, as the case of Boulder's Daniel J. Burns is proving. The Wyoming Supreme Court recently ruled that although medical marijuana is legal in Colorado and 15 other states, it's not in Wyoming, even for legitimate patients from those states.

The case centered on Burns, who was arrested in March 2009 for felony drug possession after he was busted in Laramie County with more than a pound of pot in his vehicle, according to another AP article. The key to the ruling was that state officials—not doctors—approve whether Coloradans have access to medicinal weed, meaning Burns' possession is only legal in Colorado. (Doctors merely issue recommendations.) "I'm disappointed that the Wyoming Supreme Court did not do the compassionate thing and respect that this man was using marijuana legally under Colorado law," Brian Vicente of Sensible Colorado, a group that advocates for patients' rights, tells Westword. "But at the same time, Colorado's licensed patients really need to know that their rights do not necessarily extend across our state's borders."