By Jacob Sullum | Reason
Nearly 50 million Americans use marijuana each year, according to the latest federal survey data, and the actual number may be more like 70 million once underreporting is taken into account. Under federal law, all of those people are forbidden to purchase or possess firearms, even if they live in states that have legalized marijuana for medical or recreational use.
A bill recently introduced by Rep. Don Young (R–Alaska) and cosponsored by two other Republicans would restore the Second Amendment rights of cannabis consumers by creating an exception for state-legal marijuana use. “When I was sworn into Congress, I took an oath to defend the Constitution of the United States,” Young says in a press release. “That oath does not mean picking and choosing which Amendments to defend; it requires us as Members of Congress to protect the ENTIRE Bill of Rights.” He argues that his bill, the Gun Rights and Marijuana (GRAM) Act, would vindicate both the Second Amendment and the 10th Amendment, which lets states “determine their own cannabis laws, as Alaska did in 2014,” when voters approved a legalization initiative.
“If it is passed by Congress, this proposed legislation will be a tremendous advancement in the federal government’s treatment of legal cannabis and recognition of due process concerning gun ownership. In a sense, the law will recognize that an individual’s rights cannot be infringed without judicial process merely because their conduct may be in conflict with federal law. Moreover, given the Republican Party’s history of posturing on all things related to marijuana, this bill may forecast a change in climate on this issue.”
–Adam Trenk, Rose Law Group Partner, Director of Hemp, Cannabis and Equine Depts.