Here’s a disturbing story out of Hawaii which should alarm Second Amendment advocates as well as more liberal supporters of legalized, medical marijuana. Those may sound like two fairly disparate issues, but they intersect in a new call from the Hawaiin government for medical marijuana users to “voluntarily” surrender all of their firearms. If you’re sensing a really complicated legal mess unfolding here, award yourself three extra perspicacity points. (Daily Caller)
Hawaiian authorities have asked medical marijuana users to “voluntarily surrender” firearms due to their medicinal status. This may mark the first time a law enforcement entity has moved to confiscate guns from cannabis patients.
Marijuana users in Honolulu are expected to turn over all firearms and ammunition to the state within 30 days of receiving the notice, according to a letter signed by police chief Susan Ballard, reported the website Leafly.
The state’s first medical marijuana dispensary opened in August, but federal law prevents patients who ingest cannabis from owning a firearm. Marijuana is still categorized as a Schedule I drug by the government and is considered in the same league as ecstasy and heroin.
The state is calling this a “voluntary” surrender of firearms, but it doesn’t sound very voluntary when they give you a thirty day deadline to comply. Nobody is using the word “seizures” yet that I can find, but that certainly seems to be implied.
So if the state has made medical marijuana legal, how are they suspending the Second Amendment rights of their citizens in this fashion? That’s where we get back to the same set of complications which has plagued marijuana legalization from the beginning. Hawaii has declared medical marijuana legal, but the Federal Government still classifies it as a Schedule I drug. In fact, the Daily Caller provides a statement from the ATF on the subject where they make it clear that they’re not planning on allowing any exceptions.
Any person who uses or is addicted to marijuana, regardless of whether his or her State has passed legislation authorizing marijuana use for medicinal purposes, is an unlawful user of or addicted to a controlled substance, and is prohibited by Federal law from possessing firearms and ammunition. – ATF
That may be the letter of the law, but it’s not very practical. Many people receive prescriptions for opioid painkillers from their doctors which carry a very real danger of addiction and disturbed behavior. But nobody is calling for everyone with a script for Tylenol with codeine to turn in their guns.
There’s a general agreement that convicted illegal drug users and dealers should not be able to legally purchase firearms. Even most Second Amendment advocates are okay with that restriction. (Including yours truly.) But if the state you live in has legalized pot then you’re not in danger of breaking a state law. Technically you’re violating federal law, but not many people are being arrested for it these days.
There doesnt’ seem to be a solution here unless and until we can get federal and state laws on the same page. This has been an ongoing problem for years and Hawaii moving to seize firearms is the most glaring example to date of why we need to have this sorted out.