Montana Democratic Senator John Walsh believes that if you are a medical marijuana patient, your gun rights should be protected doesn’t matter if you buy weed online or through a retail channel and he wants to make sure that they are. Walsh has added this amendment to a spending bill that may be soon debated on the floor of the Senate. The embattled senator who was appointed earlier in the year faces a tough race come November. Senator Ron Paul joins Walsh in pushing for this amendment to the broader spending bill, including funding for several departments like the departments of Science, Justice, Agriculture, the FDA, and Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
Since there is no formal agreement on amendments, questions are arising as to whether or not the Senate can complete its job of approving an appropriations package. Senator Paul’s provision would prohibit the Justice Department from impeding states when it comes to administering or amending their own medical marijuana laws. Walsh made a statement about his particular amendment saying, “The federal government cannot deny Montanans who rely on medical marijuana their Second Amendment rights. This measure will ensure that patients can hunt, purchase ammunition and protect their homes without fear of prosecution.” Many Western states have a large Libertarian population. Perhaps this amendment is meant to appeal to them.
Senator Walsh was appointed to replace former Montanan Democratic Sen. Max Baucus, who was appointed earlier this year as the U.S. ambassador to China. Prior to this role, Walsh was the state’s adjutant general and also served as the lieutenant governor. Marijuana has been legalized in 23 states, New York state being the latest along with the District of Columbia. Colorado and Washington State have passed recreational marijuana laws, while Colorado’s rollout taking place earlier this year, and Washington State due to establish its program this summer. Seven states have also passed legislation allowing only one kind of low THC marijuana-based oil to be used for sufferers of severe childhood epileptic condition. More investment and research are flooding into the opening medical marijuana market. This is the first time however gun rights have been linked up with medical marijuana. Conservatives have started to get behind medical marijuana as polls show the majority of Americans support it. The House recently passed legislation that has landed in the Senate regarding blocking the DEA from interfering with medical marijuana proceedings in states where it is legal, citing it as a state’s rights issue.