This is becoming more of a problem every day . . . Patients must choose: Medical marijuana or gun ownership
The town drunk can buy firearms. So can someone who has been involuntarily placed in a mental hospital for a short stay. But anyone who wants to treat their Crohn’s disease with medical marijuana is forbidden from owning a gun.
OK, so author Sam Wood got that part about the involuntary commitment wrong (the ATF’s form 4473 doesn’t make exceptions for a short length of stay) no matter what a single court may say. Expecting mainstream media outlets like the Philadelphia Inquirer to get all their facts right in a piece bout firearms is probably asking a little much. Anyway . . .
Pennsylvania is preparing to roll out a statewide program in early 2018 that will provide medicinal cannabis products to patients suffering from 17 serious health conditions.
But some sick people will have to make a difficult decision: Is taking the medicine worth surrendering what gun-owning advocates see as an enshrined constitutional right.
You shouldn’t have to make that choice. But you do. Despite 29 states having legalized medical use of marijuana. So far.
(U)nder federal law, all forms of marijuana remain strictly forbidden. The DEA considers it a Schedule 1 drug, on par with heroin and LSD, with “no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse.”
The federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives regulates the sale and ownership of guns and ammunition across the nation. ATF spokeswoman Cherie R. Duval-Jones said any use of marijuana is a disqualifier.
“There are no exceptions in federal law for marijuana purportedly used for medicinal purposes, even if such use is sanctioned by state law,” said Duvall-Jones.
Maybe users are planning to lie on their 4473 forms, but . . .
In Pennsylvania, firearms dealers must conduct a background check on each customer. A registry, administered by the state police, identifies medical marijuana patients.
“If you’re a card holder, you’ll be flagged,” said state police spokesman Ryan Tarkowski.
And don’t think that holding onto any firearms you already owned before qualifying for medical marijuana is OK. Certainly not in the Keystone State. Or other states such as Hawaii.
The state police spokesman strongly suggested that patients consider the consequences of holding onto their weapons.
“It’s unlawful to keep possession of firearms obtained prior to registering,” (state police spokesman Ryan) Tarkowski said. “The Pennsylvania State Police is not in the business of offering legal advice, but it might be a good idea to contact an attorney about how best to dispose of their firearms.”
It will take federal legislation to change the prohibition on gun possession by medical (let alone recreational) marijuana users. And while a proposal to do that has been kicking around Congress for years, don’t expect any movement on it any time soon.