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420 with CNW — Pennsylvania Bill Seeks to Allow Medical Cannabis Users to Own Guns

Cannabis News Wire, Media Partners

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Pennsylvania’s Erie GOP Senator Dan Laughlin is initiating a measure to change the gun ownership laws, enabling medical cannabis users to possess firearms. Laughlin argues that Second Amendment rights shouldn’t be violated because medical marijuana is a legitimate treatment for symptoms. Laughlin notes that the amendment is aimed at defending constitutional rights and personal liberty.

However, changing state laws will not be enough because federal law forbids marijuana users from owning firearms. The senator, who is surprised by the federal government’s passivity, takes inspiration from a case filed by the district attorney of Warren County against federal limits.

Robert Greene, the district attorney for Warren County and a certified medical marijuana patient in Pennsylvania, filed a lawsuit against the government about the prohibition of gun ownership by cannabis consumers.

Pennsylvania Family Institute President Michael Geer opposes Laughlin’s effort, citing possible risks associated with combining marijuana and firearms. Without recommended amounts, he claims, users run the risk of misuse, especially when using high-THC cannabis products.

Nevertheless, Laughlin, who humorously acknowledges his role as a leading advocate for marijuana legalization within the GOP, remains undeterred. Last year, Laughlin wrote to Pennsylvania’s acting police commissioner, asking him to review a federal decision that declared the federal prohibition on cannabis users owning firearms to be unlawful.

The senator’s advocacy for medical marijuana patients’ gun rights comes as state officials contemplate the legalization of recreational cannabis. Recently, Governor Josh Shapiro’s budget proposal called on legislators to move forward with legalizing cannabis for recreational use, emphasizing the need to stay up-to-date with surrounding states.

There is a growing interest in legalizing recreational cannabis in both chambers, with Laughlin leading the legalization reforms in the senate. The House of Representatives, which is now controlled by Democrats, has had several hearings on the issue. A recent poll reveals substantial public support for recreational cannabis legalization in Pennsylvania, with approximately two-thirds of voters endorsing the policy change.

Meanwhile, federal and state laws that prohibit drug users from purchasing firearms have presented challenges for authorities and Second Amendment supporters as more jurisdictions legalize cannabis. Notably, federal law stipulates that it is illegal to purchase or carry a firearm if one uses cannabis or any other restricted narcotic.

However, the act that gave rise to that ban has recently been contested in several courts, with some ruling that the restriction is unconstitutional.

The DOJ has staunchly supported the policy, arguing that people who use cannabis present distinct risks to society that warrant denying them their Second Amendment rights.

This bill is likely to be of interest to many cannabis companies such as SNDL Inc. (NASDAQ: SNDL) as its outcome could set a precedent that many other jurisdictions with medical marijuana markets may try to emulate.

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