A legislation that was recently introduced in Congress will exempt marijuana consumers in legalized states from a federal restriction that prohibits unlawful users of a controlled substance from owning a gun. The bill, which was filed last week by a pair of Republican co-sponsors along with Rep. Don Young, has been christened the Gun Rights and Marijuana Act.
This exemption will only be applicable to those who don’t violate local marijuana laws but do live in tribal jurisdictions or states that allow the use of cannabis by adults. However, the federal restriction on firearm ownership for consumers of other drugs and the classification of cannabis as a Schedule 1 controlled substance would remain unchanged under the legislation.
Rep. Young, who also happens to be a Congressional cannabis caucus co-chair, stated that the federal government had no business hindering states from reforming cannabis laws or imposing excessive restrictions on responsible citizens, which barred them from exercising their rights. He added that the bill, HR 2830, helped bridge this gap as it dealt with both cannabis and gun rights, giving individuals from both sides of the aisle something to support.
The legislation has been advanced to the House Judiciary Committee.
One of the bill’s original cosponsors, Rep. Brian Mast, stated that cannabis laws should be determined by individual states instead of the federal government. He added that the second amendment clearly indicated that every American had the right to bear arms.
Another initial cosponsor of the legislation, Rep. Rodney Davis, stated that state-legal cannabis use was not to be used as an excuse to prohibit individuals from owning or buying firearms, which is a constitutional right that is well-defined. Under the existing law, Americans who are addicted to any controlled substance or are regarded as unlawful users are barred from possessing guns. This has been clearly stated under the Controlled Substances Act.
This is not to mean, however, that law enforcement actively screens firearm owners for substance use. However, individuals wishing to purchase firearms are required to fill out an ATF form by the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, which asks them whether they are unlawful users of or are addicted to any narcotic drug, stimulant, depressant, cannabis or other controlled substances. It is a felony to lie on the form.
Meanwhile, President Joe Biden supports states that establish their own policies but is still not on board with the federal legalization of marijuana.
This proposed bill, together with others making their way through Congress, not only aim to remove some of the hurdles cannabis companies such as Gage Growth Corp. (CSE: GAGE) (d.b.a. Gage Cannabis) face, but they also could address some of the challenges that people who legally use cannabis face.
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