Residents of Hawaii’s largest city who take medical marijuana will be forced to turn in their firearms within 30 days, the Honolulu Star Advertiser reported.
In a letter which was sent to 30 medical marijuana card holders on the island of Oahu this week, authorities informed them that “you have 30 days upon receipt of this letter to voluntarily surrender your firearms.”
“Your medical marijuana use disqualifies you from ownership of firearms and ammunition,” the letter reads, citing Hawaii Revised Statutes, Section 134-7 (a): “No person who is a fugitive from justice or is a person prohibited from possessing firearms or ammunition under federal law shall own, possess, or control any firearm or ammunition therefor.”
While medical marijuana card holders in Hawaii are hardly fugitives from justice, that’s not quite what the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives thinks.
In a 2011 open letter from the ATF after a number of states passed medical marijuana laws, the bureau stated that, “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.”
Marijuana, of course, is still a Schedule I substance under federal law — the most highly-restricted type of drug. Drugs under Schedule I are purported to have no known medicinal value and a high potential for abuse. To put this into perspective, cocaine is in Schedule II; even though it’s more addictive, the drug’s use as an anesthetic means that it has some legitimate medical purpose.
In spite of the DEA’s insistence that marijuana has no medical value, most states have been able to set up medical marijuana systems — and even legalize it for recreational usage — without much interference by law enforcement at either the federal or state level.
However, there’s apparently one area in which they feel the need to intervene, and that’s when it comes to firearm ownership.
So, just so we’re clear. We live in a country where the federal laws say you can’t use marijuana. These laws mean legitimately next to nothing. If a state decides to legalize the substance, you can legitimately buy gummy bears with enough THC in them to turn the Mike Curb Congregation Band into Phish in just one dose.
But if you actually have a condition which either requires or is best treated by marijuana, your Second Amendment rights go down the drain. Never mind your driver’s license, which might be a bit more of a problem. If you’re a teacher, you can go in front of your kindergarten class and sing “Free to Be You and Me” for four hours straight munching Cheetos and… well, you’d probably get fired for being under the influence, but with a medical marijuana card you could probably make a decent case through your teachers’ union.
The point is that the government at both the local, state and federal level don’t really seem to care about any of the other ephemera of your life that might be affected by medical marijuana usage. Guns, though? That’s where they draw the line.
In fact, even if you don’t consume medical marijuana but have a card that allows you to do so will still end in you being turned down for a gun purchase, something that was upheld by our favorite bunch of judges, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.
“It may be argued that medical marijuana users are less likely to commit violent crimes, as they often suffer from debilitating illnesses, for which marijuana may be an effective palliative,” the 9th Circuit’s ruling stated, according to TheBlaze
“But those hypotheses are not sufficient to overcome Congress’s reasonable conclusion that the use of such drugs raises the risk of irrational or unpredictable behavior with which gun use should not be associated.”
Yet, as we’ve seen, neither Congress nor the federal government has been willing to do anything in states that have legalized medical or recreational marijuana. They may talk a big game on occasion, but little to anything ever really happens.
The fact that they’ve targeted guns should tell you all that you need to know: this is a gun grab, plain and simple. While conservatives may or may not support marijuana legalization, if it is legal, it doesn’t abrogate our Second Amendment rights. And these are people who are using it to treat a medical condition. Unless there is conclusive evidence that the drug is being abused to the point where it creates a danger to the community, this is nothing more than an opportunity for ban-happy bureaucrats to get their mitts on some firearms.
Instead of reflexively taking guns away from anyone with a medical marijuana card, how about evaluating each instance on a case-by-case basis? There were, after all, only 30 cards sent out. Surely it isn’t too exigent for the authorities to go through these thirty cases individually and decide whether confiscation is merited. If they don’t, it will prove once and for all that this was nothing more than a small-scale gun grab.
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H/T Miami Herald