On April 20th, also known as the 4/20 cannabis holiday, Rep. Brian Mast (R-FL) reintroduced the Gun Rights and Marijuana (GRAM) Act, a bill aimed at protecting the Second Amendment rights of people who use marijuana in states where it’s legal. The bill, previously led by the late Rep. Don Young (R-AK), would amend federal law to ensure that cannabis consumers are not considered “unlawful users” of a controlled substance, which would allow them to purchase and possess firearms that they’re currently prohibited from having under federal law.
The federal policy currently bars people who admit to being an “unlawful user” of marijuana from buying, possessing, or selling firearms. However, this policy has been challenged in several federal courts and deemed unconstitutional by at least two. The GRAM Act seeks to address this issue and protect the rights of cannabis consumers who legally use marijuana and have a right to bear arms.
In a press release, Rep. Mast stated that “Congress needs to legislate based on reality, and the reality is that those who legally use marijuana are being treated as second-class citizens. That’s not acceptable. Government exists to protect the rights of the people, and that’s what this bill does.”
The issue of gun ownership and marijuana use has gained increasing attention in federal courts over the past year. In February, a federal judge declared that the ban prohibiting people who use marijuana from possessing firearms is unconstitutional, and the DOJ is currently appealing that decision.
Rep. Mast also pointed out that the issue of gun ownership and marijuana use is particularly important to the veteran community, many of whom use cannabis as a viable treatment option for conditions like PTSD. He stated that “no veteran that I know wants to be forced to choose between a viable treatment option and the ability to protect themselves and their families. The GRAM Act is about ensuring no one has to make that choice.”
Rep. Mast also emphasized the need to move past the era of prohibition and treat cannabis consumers like any other law-abiding citizens. He said, “We need to move past this era of prohibition just like what happened with alcohol previously in our country’s history. That has to be the point that we get to with cannabis use in America.” In addition to the GRAM Act, Rep. Mast is also cosponsoring a separate bill that would allow medical cannabis patients to purchase and possess firearms.