United States – -(AmmoLand.com)- Many Second Amendment supporters don’t follow the debate over the legalization of marijuana. For many, it doesn’t seem to register. But right now, some of the effects of that debate could impact people’s Second Amendment rights.
Put it this way – while some states have decriminalized even the recreational use of marijuana, the federal government has not. 21 USC 802(16) lists marijuana (spelled marihuana in the law) as a controlled substance, and it is listed among such substances that can get a person a felony drug conviction. Such a conviction means good-bye to your Second Amendment rights.
Under 18 USC 922, though, one doesn’t need to be convicted on a drug charge to get hit with a 10-year federal sentence. All one has to be is an unlawful user of a controlled substance. This can include marijuana, as this case in Iowa illustrates. The United States Concealed Carry Association has outlined a lot of that on its site.
Here, a number of normal Second Amendment champions have not really been moving on this issue. But Representative Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) has introduced HR 420, the Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act. This legislation takes marijuana and puts it on the same tier as alcohol with regards to federal regulation. The most important feature is that marijuana no longer becomes a controlled substance, which ends a lot of legal jeopardy for those who exercise their Second Amendment rights while using marijuana.
There will be a secondary bit of impact – the law renames the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Marijuana, Firearms, and Explosives. There is no indication that extra funds would be given to this agency to handle the extra workload that would result from adding pot to its jurisdiction. That is a mixed blessing.
On the one hand, the additional workload might mean that there would be less chance of harassment of Americans who wish to exercise their Second Amendment rights. Simply put, if ATF has to also regulate marijuana on the same basis as alcohol, they will be a lot busier, especially in the months and years as marijuana is transitioned from “controlled substance” status.
But there is a flip side: There may be fewer agents available to prosecute some real cases that involve the misuse of firearms. Put it this way, depending on a presidential administration’s priorities, we could see some gun laws that should be enforced not get enforced.
It should be noted Representative Blumenauer doesn’t have the best record on our rights. That said, HR 420 marks a marginal improvement in advancing our Second Amendment freedoms on the margins. As was the case with another law that we covered, Second Amendment supporters should read the text, think it over, and if they feel strongly about it, contact their Representative and Senators and politely urge them to act.
About Harold Hutchison
Writer Harold Hutchison has more than a dozen years of experience covering military affairs, international events, U.S. politics and Second Amendment issues. Harold was consulting senior editor at Soldier of Fortune magazine and is the author of the novel Strike Group Reagan. He has also written for the Daily Caller, National Review, Patriot Post, Strategypage.com, and other national websites.