Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
August 29, 2015

Senator: Protect Gun Rights of Medical Marijuana Users

Walsh was sworn in on Feb. 11. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Walsh was sworn in on Feb. 11. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

If you use marijuana in a state that has legalized pot for medicinal purposes, Sen. John Walsh wants to make sure you don’t lose your guns.

The Democratic senator from Montana, appointed earlier this year and facing a difficult race on Nov. 4, has filed an amendment to a spending package being considered on the Senate floor.

Walsh joins libertarian leaning Sen. Rand Paul in attaching a marijuana-related provision to the broad spending bill that includes funding for Commerce-Justice-Science, Transportation and Housing and Urban Development and Agriculture-FDA. But questions are arising over whether the Senate can complete work on the package because an agreement on amendments remains elusive.

Paul’s legislation would prevent the Department of Justice from blocking states attempting to implement their own laws related to medical marijuana.

“The federal government cannot deny Montanans who rely on medical marijuana their Second Amendment rights,” Walsh said in a statement. “This measure will ensure that patients can hunt, purchase ammunition and protect their homes without fear of prosecution.”

The pro-gun amendment could appeal to the libertarian strain of thinking that runs through many western states. Walsh was named to replace Sen. Max Baucus when President Barack Obama named the Montanan to be his U.S. ambassador to China earlier this year. Walsh previously served as lieutenant governor and as the state’s adjutant general.

Montana is one of the 22 states with comprehensive legalized medical marijuana programs.

Paul’s amendment addresses 32 states and Washington, D.C., with laws that authorize the use, distribution, possession, or cultivation of medical marijuana. In the text, he names them as Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Washington and Wisconsin.

Tom Angell, the chairman of Marijuana Majority, was pleased with both amendments, especially given Paul has presidential ambitions.

Pot policy unites “an interesting progressive-libertarian mix of strange political bedfellows,” and “when you add in gun rights, we should see a very, very interesting bipartisan result,” Angell said.

A House committee this week opted against blocking D.C. from implementing a law to decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana. The decriminalization legislation, in the midst of a 60-day congressional review period, remains intact in the spending bill now headed for the full appropriations panel.

Niels Lesniewski contributed to this report.

Comments (83)

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  1. Jack Everett

    June 20, 2014
    8:42 a.m.

    Drugs and guns don’t go together just like alcohol and guns don’t go together.

    • HenryWallace2012

      June 20, 2014
      1:53 p.m.

      Yes they do. Rand Paul has it just right.

    • Tea Pot Party

      June 21, 2014
      9:35 p.m.

      STOP GOP terrorism against Medical Marijuana Patients.
      Republicans are alcoholic Hypocrites, Bigots and Thugs.
      VOTE Rand Paul 2016

      • Derek

        June 22, 2014
        9:41 p.m.

        Apparently Republicans who think pot heads shouldn’t have guns are thugs and terrorists.

  2. dltaylor51

    June 20, 2014
    11:10 a.m.

    If you are on any kind of mind altering drug you dont need to be in possession of a firearm,these same democrats want to arm pot heads while taking away the gun rights of law abiding citizens.The democrat party has been taken over by a bunch of morons.

    • DAK27

      June 20, 2014
      11:27 a.m.

      Please name one law that takes away your guns passed recently as I haven’t heard of any, and please provide a link so I can read where it happened and how. Thanks in advance….

      • dltaylor51

        June 20, 2014
        11:35 a.m.

        The reason there have been no new gun control laws passed is because of the hard work that the NRA and people like me put into defeating them,there are new propose gun laws coming up for vote here in Wa this Nov and every one of them has a big old D behind the names of the sponsors.The demo’s running for office in the mid terms are getting real nervous about the upcoming elections and they very well should be.

        • DAK27

          June 20, 2014
          11:37 a.m.

          OK, thanks.

      • JONDO

        June 20, 2014
        12:38 p.m.

        Haven’t passed yet, but trying to pass, by hook or by crook. I haven’t had a weapon in 35 years but i do now. I will probably never use them, but i feel a lot better knowing they are thr if i need one.

        • DAK27

          June 20, 2014
          12:47 p.m.

          I’ve owned guns my whole life, from whenever I was old enough to keep both ends off the ground at the same time until today. Shotguns, rifles, pistols, bows… if it shot something, I had it (or have it.)

          I hear this alot, that “Obama is taking our guns!” but have yet to have any one actually show me a law that was passed, or even proposed, that does this so I am curious as to where this saying comes from. What facts back it up as all I can find is obvious lies, mis-statements, and just plain BS on various web sites saying it and just saying it doesn’t make it so.

    • Len Silva

      June 21, 2014
      6:22 p.m.

      No problem arming drunks, though.

      • dltaylor51

        June 22, 2014
        12:57 a.m.

        Getting caught in possession of any firearm while intoxicated and the law comes down hard,every state i know of is very strict about being drunk and having a gun in your possession, there may be some states where this is untrue but i have never been in one.

  3. Immortal Illumined

    June 20, 2014
    11:12 a.m.

    the greatest plant in the universe is almost free, LET FREEDOM RING! 13

    ENLIGHTENMENT…i was a brainwashed evil, mean, christian conservative until i tried it at 17 years old…i hated gays, immigrants, women’s rights, blacks, marijuana, i was Rush Limbaugh’s #1 fan….until i smoked marijuana….changed the world, hope the EVIL POPE is enjoying the marijuana revolution around the globe, keeping the flock brainwashed and against marijuana, gays, and women’s rights….you may have a little influence but you have absolutely no power…

    1000s of my friends and family have grown 30-99 plants for 20 years, thanks for keeping prices high and NORCAL wealthy…#1 crop in cali = $15 Billion Untaxed…

    “any doctor against marijuana is a doctor of death” – cali secret 420

    from 0 states to half the country, from low 20% approval to almost 70%, cali runs this planet by 2 decades, time to tie marijuana to the 2014, 2016 elections, out with the old, in with the new

    20 years behind us southern states and NEW YORK, sad and scary….nobody denies freedoms like the south, nobody…the top ten incarcerators on the planet are southern states and more blacks are in prison then were slaves before the civil war…even if marijuana reforms did pass the republiCANTS in charge would deny you all your freedoms, centuries of practice…no matter though, we never planned on getting your backwards brethren from day one, half the country already but not one southern state, lol…not 1….the new generations are taking over in the south and they are nothing like their freedom denying parents, let’s ride…

    Deaths by Alcohol: Millions
Deaths by Tobacco: Millions

    Deaths by Prescription Drugs: Quadrupled in last decade
Deaths by Guns: Millions
Deaths by the food we are fed: Millions
Deaths by Marijuana: 0, ever…they are killing my American family while denying freedom

    love and freedom forever


    • Ruth

      June 22, 2014
      1:53 a.m.

      Medical Marijuana = Yes. Other Marijuana NO. By the way, there have been deaths since it became legal in a few states. Liberal media is probably not reporting it where you are. One guy ate a whole drugged brownie when he was supposed to eat part of it. A kid fell off a balcony. etc.

      • Immortal Illumined

        June 22, 2014
        9:59 a.m.

        i’ve been in the marijuana business for 20 years and have 1000’s of clients trying to OD….none ever have or killed themselves

        otherwise i’d quit…but i see the relief they get and never will

      • Derek

        June 22, 2014
        10:13 p.m.

        Medical marijuana serves no valid purpose.

        First, most people who are on “medical marijuana” are just using it to get high for recreational purposes, not medical ones. In states where medical marijuana is legal, locations that disperse the product are commonly, and accurately, referred to as pot shops. Anybody who wants to get high can make up a lame excuse as to why they need some pot, and they’ll get it.

        Secondly, every benefit that can be acquired from marijuana is available in pill form. There is no need to legalize the plant to get the benefits.

        Third, even light use of marijuana has significant mental ramifications. A study by researchers at Northwestern University showed that smoking marijuana just twice a week, lowered people’s motivation and work ethic.

        Medical marijuana has most of the negatives of all out legalization, with now real gains associated with it.

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