Medical cannabis advocates and conservatives in Minnesota are lobbying state lawmakers during the special session to allow the state Department of Health to petition the federal government for an exemption to allow medical cannabis patients to own firearms, the Associated Press reports.
Under federal law, medical cannabis patients are barred from purchasing guns as the federal form required with purchases asks whether the applicant uses cannabis, and patients who say ‘no’ on the form are violating federal law.
If the bid is successful, Minnesota would be the first state with a medical cannabis program that would appeal directly to the federal government for gun rights on behalf of its enrollees.
Republican state Rep. Rod Hamilton, who is enrolled in the state’s medical cannabis program to treat symptoms of multiple sclerosis, was told he was unable to renew his gun permit due to his status as a medical cannabis patient—despite that he has never used his recommendation.
“In the eyes of the federal government, we’re all felons, and it’s just tragic.”—Hamilton to the AP
Hamilton is also the sponsor of a bill to make medical cannabis a Schedule 2 drug in the state which would allow patients to buy firearms and renew their permits.
“It needs to change at the federal level and here so people can legally get their gun permits renewed and so they can hunt with family and friends and not be in violation of the law,” he said in an interview with KSTP. “No one in the medical cannabis program wants to be in violation of the law.”
There are more than 43,000 medical cannabis patients in Minnesota and enrollee numbers are expected to climb after the lawmakers in May approved a measure to allow smokable products in the program.
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