ANNAPOLIS — Almost four hours had passed in the Maryland Senate’s Judicial Proceedings Committee meeting on Wednesday before Sen. Michael Hough (R-Frederick and Carroll) walked to the lectern.

Hough said he would be brief, and quickly had a specific description for Senate Bill 179.

“This is my libertarian bill of the year,” Hough told the Judicial Proceedings Committee.

His proposal would allow those who use medical marijuana to purchase, carry or possess firearms, or to be issued a handgun permit.

A fiscal and policy note attached to Hough’s bill notes that under current state law, those that are “addicted to a controlled dangerous substance or ... a habitual user” could face up to five years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

Since marijuana is a Schedule 1 controlled dangerous substance, there is a conflict between state and federal laws, Hough said.

“Unfortunately, I, as a state senator, can’t fix the federal laws from right here,” he said. “But there’s been a longtime conflict on marijuana laws with our state laws and the federal laws.”

A few opponents testified at Wednesday’s hearing with concerns about confusion this would cause for Maryland residents between state and federal law.

But John Mountjoy, vice president of Maryland Shall Issue, a state nonprofit that advocates for gun ownership rights statewide, had a slightly different take. Maryland Shall Issue was not taking a stance on Hough’s bill, but he did.

“Personally, as a libertarian, I support it profoundly,” Mountjoy said. “I don’t believe that exercising medical medication, whether it’s NyQuil or cannabis, should take away another constitutionally guaranteed civil right.”

Hough said after the hearing that he’s concerned the House will kill the bill again this year, as many delegates view it simply as a pro-gun bill.

He also said there are other conflicts with state law regarding medical marijuana.

“We are already in conflict when it comes to medical marijuana, decriminalization of marijuana, with the federal government and the state,” Hough said. “So that conflict is already in existence, and we’re already trampling all over that constantly.”

“If you’re going to say to people, marijuana is a medicine — and not everyone agrees with that — but the state has made that determination … so how can you therefore say you can no longer own a gun, but you can be prescribed oxycodone and much more serious pharmaceuticals, and still have your firearm?” he added.

The bill still faces a vote in the Senate before heading over to the House. Co-sponsors include Sen. Justin Ready (R-Carroll) and Sen. William Smith (D-Montgomery).

Krimm named as alternate representative to regional planning board

Del. Carol Krimm (D-Frederick) has been named as the state’s alternate member to the National Region Capital Transportation Planning Board.

House Speaker Adrienne Jones (D-Baltimore County) named Krimm and Del. Marc Korman (D-Montgomery) as the state’s representative to the board earlier this week.

The board is tasked with helping making policy, providing resources for Washington, D.C., and regional transportation agencies along with ensuring those groups comply with federal law.

Follow Steve Bohnel on Twitter: @Steve_Bohnel.

Steve Bohnel is the county government reporter for the Frederick News-Post. He can be reached at sbohnel@newspost.com. He graduated from Temple University, with a journalism degree in May 2017, and is a die-hard Everton F.C. fan.

(8) comments

mrnatural1

Here is an interesting article:

https://www.salon.com/2019/04/27/guns-versus-weed-how-background-checks-conflict-with-state-cannabis-laws_partner/

Quote:

"Thus, as far as the federal government is concerned, gun ownership and drug use, including state-legal cannabis use, are mutually exclusive.

Cannabis users who choose to ignore the federal stance do so at their peril, because lying on Form 4473 can lead to five years in federal prison."

And another:

"Karen O’Keefe, director of state policies for the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP)...“Marijuana use should of course be legal at the state and federal level for adults, so that a person would not be an unlawful user,” she said. “But in the interim, certainly I think that a person shouldn’t have to give up their gun rights because they use cannabis instead of alcohol or more dangerous prescription drugs.”

The last paragraph mentions Hough:

"The cause has also been taken up at the state level in Maryland, where state Sen. Michael Hough (R) introduced a bill in 2018 that would prohibit state police from denying gun permits “solely on the basis that the person is authorized to use medical cannabis.” That bill, however, has gone nowhere."

It's a good article for anyone interested in this subject.

CRSmith88

Here's the conflict: You are prescribed anti depressants and/or pain medication (maybe PTSD as a vet) from prior injuries or trauma. You want to kick the habit of one of them and low dosages of medical marijuana usage seems like a viable alternative, problem, you support the 2nd enough that theres a big legal line of compromise to cross. You're law abiding, but somehow, getting that card implies you will not be.

gary4books

Not surprised, considering the source. Perhaps a body armor vest will be in fashion with a matching helmet for downtown wear.

DickD

Hough wants someone on drugs to be able to carry a weapon? Let's get rid of Hough!

papadojocho

Officially, he's got a point, comparing medical marijuana to a prescribed opiate. Not much difference there, but I am all for voting Hough out anyway, on a plethora of other reasons. #VoteHoughOut

gabrielshorn2013

Should we also take the firearms away from someone thet drinks alcohol occasionally dick? How about those on prescription meds? Google form 4473.

CRSmith88

^^^ This.

rogy

A disappointingly inane comment even for you Dick. Expected a little higher level of discourse on a topic that warrants intelligent debate.

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