MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – A medical marijuana user is sounding the alarm after he was denied a concealed carry permit.
Patrick McClellan was on the front lines in the fight to make medical cannabis legal in Minnesota. He was one of the first to be issued a medical card to use marijuana. He says it helps him live with a rare form of muscular dystrophy.
Reg Chapman has more on the fight to restore his gun rights.
“How can 20,000 Minnesotans lose their Second Amendment rights and there is nothing said and there is nothing done?” McClellan said.
McClellan is fighting mad. After years of fighting for Minnesota to legalize medical cannabis, he was surprised to learn his effort made it illegal for him to own a gun.
“When I wanted to sign up for the class, the instructor told me that I could not take the class when I revealed I’m a medical cannabis patient,” McClellan said.
Federal law prohibits any person who is an unlawful user of or addicted to any controlled substance from shipping, transporting, receiving or possessing firearms or ammunition. Marijuana is listed in the Controlled Substance Act as a Schedule I controlled substance, and there is no exception in federal law when used for medical purposes.
“This is real, this one here, and it’s impacting us – it’s impacting me in a very negative way. Like I said, I’m giving up – I was told, and I didn’t realize this before – but I’m giving up my Second Amendment rights,” Rep. Rod Hamilton said. “I’m not giving it, up I’ve lost them.”
The Republican representative spoke up about the issue during a conference committee on the Health and Human Services Bill. He is trying to get his colleagues to drop marijuana from a Schedule I to a Schedule II controlled substance. That would mean medical marijuana patients could keep their right to bear arms.
“They believe dropping it to Schedule II is a slippery slope to legalization,” McClellan said.
For now, Hamilton wants to address the issue, even if it means backing off of Minnesota’s medical marijuana program expanding to include the leaf or flower of the plant. Hamilton says he is not in favor of recreational use of cannabis but is very much interested in protecting the rights of medical cannabis patients to hunt.
McClellan says changes are needed in the program, changes that include language that protects a patient’s gun rights. The debate continues.