It is disheartening to hear that the Federal Government is ignoring state law with regards to medical marijuana and gun ownership. Patients and caregivers are being punished by the Federal Government for acting in accordance with state law by being denied their second amendment rights. The Federal Government has continued to view patients as criminals who are addicted to a schedule 1 narcotic, not as sufferers of illness who are in need of relief. Though President Obama has said on multiple occasions that his administration would not push federal prosecution against people from states with laws permitting the use of marijuana, recent developments suggest the contrary. Read the article below and post your responses on the mmma website. All you need to do to post is create a free account and hit reply.
By Dave Herndon
Seventeen states and Washington, D.C., have passed laws legalizing marijuana for medical use. The drug, medical or otherwise, is not legal at the federal level.
People nationwide who pick up a medical marijuana card instantly give up their Second Amendment right to bear arms.
Under federal law, any person who uses an illegal controlled substance does not have the right to possess firearms or ammunition in any way. Even those who are using drugs legally with a prescription still technically are breaking the federal law.
Under federal law, cannabis is a Schedule 1 controlled substance. It cannot be cultivated, possessed, prescribed, dispensed, distributed or sold.
A memo dated Sept. 21 from Arthur Herbert, assistant director of the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, to all licensed gun dealers in the country says:
“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 or ammunition.”
Each firearm dealer has to have a prospective new gun owner fill out form 4473, which deals with the sale of firearms over the counter. One of the questions on the form asks the purchaser, “Are you an unlawful user of, or addicted to marijuana or any depressant, stimulant, narcotic drug, or any other controlled substance?”
The major issue with that question is that medical marijuana users legally have to check yes for that question. If they don’t, they are breaking the law by lying on the form. If they check yes, the application is immediately denied.
“There are no exceptions in federal law for marijuana purportedly used for medical purposes, even if such use is sanctioned by state law,” Herbert wrote in the memo.
Michael Komorn, Michigan Medical Marijuana Association president, said he believes it’s a violation of people’s rights to take away their rights when they aren’t breaking any state laws. He believes state law should trump federal law in these cases.
“It’s crazy that they’ve identified a class of people that they have determined don’t have a Second Amendment right,” he said.
Komorn also is a lawyer based in Southfield and has represented numerous clients in medical marijuana cases. He said the 2008 law that approved the use of marijuana for medical purposes had protections in it to give registered users and caregivers protections against losing any of their rights.
“Those protections were supposed to mean something,” Komorn said.
State firearm dealers are still seeking clarification on which laws, federal or state, to enforce when selling guns in the state.
“We have contacted the state, and there is a statement that says you will not lose any of your state rights, but it does not address federal rights, and when most people see the first, they assume you will not lose the second,” said Michael Barbour, president of Top Gun Shooting Sports in Taylor.
“The state replied to our letters and said it is not their responsibility to notify people of this.”
Any dealer caught selling a firearm to someone who is a known user of any Schedule 1 substance runs the risk of losing its business license.
Near the beginning of his term in office, President Barack Obama said he didn’t wish to push federal prosecution against people from states with laws permitting the use of marijuana.
In October 2009, U.S. Deputy Attorney General David Ogden circulated a policy memo that confirmed Obama’s statements.
Contact Staff Writer Dave Herndon at 1-734-246-0867 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter @NHDaveH.
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