First pro-marijuana bill of new Congress is about guns

First pro-marijuana bill of new Congress is about guns
AP Photo/Hans Pennink

Under federal law, those who use marijuana, even with a doctor’s prescription, are legally prohibited from owning guns. That’s been the law for a while, but years after medical marijuana became a thing, we’ve seen no evidence that the law is actually needed. Those taking doctor-prescribed pot haven’t really been a danger to anyone.

That’s not overly surprising.

While I don’t ascribe to the idea that pot is some wonder drug, I do ascribe to the idea that people should be permitted to do all kinds of things I don’t necessarily approve of. This is one of those.

And no one should have to give up their gun rights to take advantage of a drug that might help them in a number of ways.

A new bill, the first marijuana bill of this Congress, seeks to change that.

Republican House lawmakers have filed the first piece of marijuana reform legislation for the 118th Congress, proposing to allow medical cannabis patients to purchase and possess firearms.

Rep. Alex Mooney (R-WV) introduced the bill, which appears to be the same as a measure originally filed in 2019 that did not advance. It’s being cosponsored by Rep. Brian Mast (R-FL), who is a co-chair of the Congressional Cannabis Caucus, and Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY) .

While the full text isn’t yet available, the bill shares the short title of the “Second Amendment Protection Act” that Mooney filed in the 116th Congress. It’s unclear if it’s been amended from that version.

But as the title explains, the measure seeks to amend federal statute as it concerns the “sale, purchase, shipment, receipt, or possession of a firearm or ammunition by a user of medical marijuana.”

Frankly, it’s time for this prohibition to end.

There’s no evidence that it accomplishes anything, particularly since these aren’t people who are going around and shooting up places. If anything, marijuana is making it less likely they’ll get violent.

This is a bill that needs to be passed, but we shouldn’t need it. The Department of Health and Human Services or the DEA, both of which answer to the supposedly pro-marijuana president, can initiate proceedings to change the schedule of a drug. Currently, marijuana is Schedule 1, which means there’s no medical use for it and a high likelihood of abuse.

By rescheduling it as a Schedule 2 drug, it’s now possible that those with prescriptions or marijuana cards – however a given state does it – can still keep their guns lawfully while also getting the pot their doctors think will help them.

We shouldn’t need legislation for this. What’s more, the last two presidents who espoused at least some support for the status quo could have directed these changes to take place. Then this legislation wouldn’t have a purpose.

Unfortunately, that hasn’t happened, so here we are.

This bill didn’t pass the last time around. My hope is that it does this time and that we put an end to this effort to disarm people who are taking a substance that is legal within the state they reside.