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Ted Cruz supports gun rights for medical marijuana patients

From left to right: Zoe Russell, assistant executive director of RAMP, U.S. Senator Ted Cruz, Jason Miller, executive director of Houston NORML. Photo Credit: Bobby Rodriguez
From left to right: Zoe Russell, assistant executive director of RAMP, U.S. Senator Ted Cruz, Jason Miller, executive director of Houston NORML.
Photo Credit: Bobby Rodriguez

This past weekend at an event hosted by the Republican Party of Texas Grassroots Club, Senator Ted Cruz was on hand to speak to a group of supporters. The subject of medical marijuana and gun rights was brought up.

Also in attendance at this event were several members of Republicans Against Marijuana Prohibition (RAMP), including Houston NORML Executive Director Jason Miller.

After Cruz finished speaking, Miller posed a question to him concerning a recent amendment offered which is designed to federally protect medical marijuana patients’ gun rights.

Miller asked, “An amendment was filed to a spending bill last month by Sen. John Walsh of Montana that would prohibit the Feds from denying gun ownership rights to medical marijuana patients in states where it is legal. This stems from a 2011 memo from the ATF that basically declares that medical marijuana patients cannot possess firearms or ammunition. Do you support this amendment that protects gun ownership rights for medical marijuana patients at the federal level?”

Cruz answered with a simple yes and did not elaborate further.

Miller told Texas Cannabis Report that he is pleased that Cruz answered his question with a clear and concise “yes.” He added “gun ownership is a constitutionally-protected right that we as Texans hold dear. Although Texas is not yet a medical marijuana state and this amendment would not apply to us, Sen. Cruz seems to completely understand that when the 2nd Amendment is threatened somewhere it is threatened everywhere. Over a million Americans use marijuana medically in one of over 30 states that allows such use. It is unacceptable for the ATF to deny gun ownership rights to these people.”

Zoe Russell, who is the assistant executive director of RAMP, responded to Cruz’s remark saying “this is significant because the issue is sure to come up in future senate bills and amendments. The issues of states rights, gun ownership and medical privacy are important to conservatives. We’re pleased that Senator Cruz is supportive of efforts to protect gun ownership rights of patients who use marijuana for medicinal purposes.”

Russell went on to add,

Many of these patients suffer from a debilitating condition and are disabled to some degree. Imagine someone in a wheelchair not being able to defend his or herself against a home intruder, not being able to go hunting with friends and family, or not being able to purchase guns or ammunition from a local gun dealer. Imagine a cancer patient that owns firearms, uses medical marijuana in compliance with state law and is unaware of the federal law. This individual could face up to 10 years in federal prison. The federal law is unjust and the letter issued by the ATF is an outright attack on the 2nd Amendment rights of over a million Americans.

People who act in accordance with the laws of their state and choose the medical treatment that works best for them should be free to exercise their 2nd Amendment rights.

Texas Marijuana Policy Advocacy Workshops — January 2018
Texas Marijuana Policy Advocacy Workshops — January 2018

In an open letter to all federal firearms license holders published by the ATF (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives) in 2011, the agency made clear that “marijuana is listed in the Controlled Substances Act as a Schedule 1 controlled substance, and there are no exceptions in federal law for marijuana purportedly used for medicinal purposes, even if such use is sanctioned by state law.”

The ATF went on to state that “any person who uses or is addicted to marijuana, regardless of whether his or her state has passed legislation authorizing marijuana for medicinal purposes, is an unlawful user of or addicted to a controlled substance, and is prohibited by federal law from possessing firearms or ammunition.”

All federal license holders are at risk of federal prosecution as well if they sell or transfer firearms or ammunition to any medical marijuana cardholder due to the ATF’s rules concerning the issue.

Cruz was elected in 2012 for a six year term in the U.S. Senate, defeating Democrat Paul Sadler, Libertarian John Jay Myers, and Green candidate David Collins for Kay Bailey Hutchinson’s seat.

Earlier this year Cruz spoke at the Texas Public Policy Foundation where he chastised President Obama for not enforcing federal drug laws in Colorado soon after marijuana went on sale there for recreational use.

You could go to congress, you can get a conversation, you could get Democrats and Republicans who would say, ‘we ought to change our drug policy in some way,’ and you could have a real conversation, you could have hearings, you could look at the problem, you could discuss commonsense changes that maybe should happen or shouldn’t happen. This president didn’t do that. He just said, ‘the laws say one thing’ — and mind you these are criminal laws, these are laws that say if you do ‘X, Y, and Z’ you will go to prison. The president announced, ‘no, you won’t.’

Recently Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) and Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) filed an amendment to a Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) appropriations bill intended to prevent the (DEA) from using federal funds to go after medical marijuana operations which are legal under state laws.

Cruz has not publicly given a position on that amendment, nor has he taken any other public positions on the topic of marijuana.

By: Stephen Carter

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Stephen Carter

Stephen Carter is a journalist and information technology specialist living in Waco, Texas. He has been working with the cannabis movement since 2009. He founded Texas Cannabis Report in 2013 to bring Texans accurate cannabis related news.

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