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New federal bill would remove gun ownership restrictions from medical marijuana patients

Medical marijuana. (PublicDomainPictures/Released)
April 23, 2019

A Republican member of Congress has proposed a bill that would permit licensed medical marijuana users the right to buy and own a gun.

West Virginia U.S. Rep. Alexander Mooney introduced bill H.R. 2071, dubbed the “Second Amendment Protection Act,” that provides an exemption for medical marijuana users from federal firearm prohibition laws, according to Guns.com.

The bill would amend Section 922 of title 18, United States Code with the exception, “an individual shall not be treated as an unlawful user of or addicted to any controlled substance based on the individual using marihuana for a medical purpose in accordance with State law.”

Currently, it is legal in 10 states for adults to possess and use recreational marijuana, and 33 states have legalized medical marijuana, however it is still considered by federal law to be a highly addictive and dangerous substance. Marijuana holds a Schedule I drug classification according to federal law and is in the same classification as ecstasy, heroin, and LSD.

Because of the classification, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives deems any sale or possession of firearms by those who use marijuana a criminal offense.

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In 2016, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives revised the Firearms Transaction Record, also known as Form 4473. It stated, “the use or possession of marijuana remains unlawful under federal law regardless of whether it has been legalized or decriminalized for medicinal or recreational purposes in the state where you reside.”

However, under Mooney’s new bill, medical marijuana patients would be allowed to purchase and possess firearms. This bill is currently referred to the House Judiciary Committee.

Don Murphy, director of federal policies for the Marijuana Policy Project said, “No patient should have to choose between their Second Amendment rights and following doctor’s orders.”

In 2018, Rep. Thomas Massie proposed a similar bill which would have eliminated the question on Form 4473 that asks, “Are you an unlawful user of, or addicted to, marijuana or any depressant, stimulant, narcotic drug, or any other controlled substance?” and provides a warning that reads, “Warning: the use or possession of marijuana remains unlawful under Federal law regardless of whether it has been legalized or decriminalized for medical or recreational purposes in the state where you reside.”

Massie said, “I think we’ve created millions of felons with this question. You can’t imagine that everybody in Colorado, who under Colorado state law is legally using marijuana, has never purchased a firearm. That would be completely illogical.”

Maryland, Oklahoma and Colorado are also working to protect the Second Amendment right to own firearms for medical cannabis patients under state law.

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