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House of Representatives
Session of 2017 - 2018 Regular Session


Posted: January 5, 2018 10:33 AM
From: Representative Russ Diamond
To: All House members
Subject: Resolution to Protect Firearms Rights for Medical Cannabis Patients
In the near future I will be introducing a resolution urging the US Congress to amend the Gun Control Act of 1968 to protect the firearms rights of medical cannabis users.

In 2016 the PA House of Representatives – by a vote of 149-46 – overwhelmingly approved what eventually became Act 16 of 2016, creating a compassionate medical cannabis program for Pennsylvanians who suffer from serious medical conditions. Pennsylvania is one of 29 states which have legalized cannabis in one form or another.

Act 16 declares, in part: “scientific evidence suggests that medical marijuana is one potential therapy that may mitigate suffering in some patients and also enhance quality of life.”

The will of the House on this issue was clear. However, Pennsylvania’s adoption of this policy put qualifying patients in a precarious position regarding their firearms rights from a federal perspective.

The federal Gun Control Act of 1968 was passed to regulate the firearms industry and firearms owners. In 1993 it was amended by the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act to include references to controlled substances. As cannabis remains a Schedule I drug of the federal 1970 Controlled Substances Act, the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives has issued regulatory guidance attempting to restrict the firearms rights of cannabis users.

I can’t believe any member of the House thinks citizens should sacrifice their right to defend themselves in order to pursue legitimate and legal relief from a serious medical condition. I do believe that important questions regarding the 2nd, 5th, and 10th Amendments to the US Constitution are raised by this situation.

My resolution will affirm to our federal legislators and other officials that the Pennsylvania House of Representatives has no desire to minimize or restrict the firearms rights of medical cannabis patients simply because they are medical cannabis patients.

Please join me as a cosponsor of this important resolution.

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Introduced as HR656