As medical marijuana spreads in the state, the Missouri House of Representatives is considering how best to legislate ways to protect those who utilize the drug.
On Wednesday, the House Downsizing State Government Committee held a public hearing on a bill that would keep patient names and other personal details from the federal government and other unauthorized third parties. The bill, HB 501, would bar any state agencies from sharing information about patients who have applied for or obtained a medical marijuana license.
The concern, according to bill sponsor Rep. Nick Schroer, R-O’Fallon, is largely that the federal government still classifies marijuana as a Schedule 1 drug, and possession is illegal according to federal law.
These laws also prohibit users of controlled substances from owning firearms, which was a particular focus of Schroer and the committee.
“I would hate for law enforcement to enforce that — for those people to be caught up in a situation where they would lose their (Second Amendment) rights and they would lose their medical marijuana card,” said Rep. Jered Taylor, R-Republic.
Schroer acknowledged that enforcement of federal marijuana laws hasn’t yet been an issue in states where the drug has been legalized in any capacity.
“When we look at the states that have passed either medical marijuana or legalized marijuana, the federal government has not come in and stripped individuals of their Second Amendment rights, that I know of,” Schroer said. “The selective enforcement by the feds irks many of us here in this body, but I think this, in the most simplistic terms, is just a way that we can put a wall around the federal government from coming in and doing that, if they choose to.”
While some amendments were suggested, including a provision barring Missouri law enforcement officers from enforcing federal laws related to marijuana, the bill received general support by committee members.
“I think it’s a great piece of federalist-type legislation where, when the government overreaches, we can push back some,” said Rep. Dottie Bailey, R-Eureka.