The first draft of the marijuana legalization bill for the 118th House meeting has been filed by Republican House legislators, and it calls for allowing medical marijuana patients to buy and own guns. The legislation, which looks to be similar to a bill that was initially submitted in 2019 but did not move, was introduced by Rep. Alex Mooney (R-WV). The cochair of the Congressional Marijuana Caucus, Rep. Brian Mast (R-FL) along with Thomas Massie (R-KY) are cosponsors of the measure.
The bill’s entire text is not yet available, although it has the same short name as Mooney’s Second Amendment Protection Act from the 116th House. It’s unclear if the bill has changed since that first edition.
Currently, those who use marijuana are prohibited from buying or owning firearms because they are deemed to be illegal users of or hooked on a drug that is federally forbidden, even if they are doing so as a treatment per state law. According to the prior legislation version, individuals using prohibited controlled drugs continue to be prohibited from obtaining a gun, except that they will not be considered illegal consumers or otherwise addicted to a particular controlled drug depending on the person’s use of cannabis for therapeutic treatment in conformity with the law.
Massie discussed the necessity of a gun-focused marijuana policy in 2019, outlining plans to support legislation that would eliminate the current patients’ regulations.
The ban has drawn strong criticism from both sides of the political aisle. Supporters, state officials and legislators claim that it unfairly discriminates against cannabis patients and compels them to forego a constitutional right or acquire firearms through additional, potentially illegal means.
Former cochair of the Marijuana Caucus, Rep. Don Young (R-AK), who passed away and was succeeded by Mast, introduced to the previous Congress a different bill that would have safeguarded the second amendment of all legal marijuana users not only patients. The bill would have included a brief clause to the constitution stating that “addicted or unauthorized consumers of any restricted substance” will not include an individual who is illegally using or addicted to cannabis.
Only those who reside in a tribal jurisdiction or state that allows the use of cannabis by adults would have qualified for the exemption if they adhered to local marijuana laws.
In an attempt to protect gun rights for medicinal cannabis patients, Florida’s former commissioner for agriculture, Nikki Fried, launched a lawsuit against the national government. However, after months of arguing, a court magistrate rejected the lawsuit in November. Since then, Fried has contested the verdict.
Given that the states’ marijuana laws had made it possible for habitual cannabis users as well as other prohibited people to acquire guns unlawfully, the ATF gave a recommendation in 2020 that specifically targets Michigan and mandates that firearms sellers run mandatory background inquiries on all unauthorized gun buyers.
Changes to the laws regulating firearm purchases could have a ripple effect allowing various entities such as Advanced Container Technologies Inc. (OTC: ACTX) to make further inroads into the market as more people no longer have to choose between using medical cannabis or retaining their ability to legally buy and own a firearm.
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