The states are beginning to push back against the federal government on marijuana laws, which is a good thing. However, there are some unforeseen issues that each state is having to deal with, especially regarding gun ownership.
Marijuana is currently a schedule I substance under the Controlled Substances Act. The plant is under this classification because lawmakers believed that there was a high potential for abuse, and there was no medicinal benefit of taking it.
However, medical research over the years has shown that cannabis is actually therapeutic for many people, especially those who suffer from seizures. Sometimes, the plant is literally the only treatment for their pain. With this new research coming to light, states have fought back against the feds by decriminalizing the legalizing marijuana for medical and sometimes recreational use.
It’s great that the states are putting the 10th Amendment to use, but in their attempt to circumvent the feds, there are some unforeseen consequences: marijuana users are prohibited from possessing firearms under federal law.
BATFE form 4473, the NICS background check form, has been changed in the past couple of years to reflect the shift, and prospective gun buyers are asked if they are users of marijuana. If they answer yes, they are not eligible to buy a gun.
Indeed, as we reported several weeks ago, the state of Hawaii even went as far as giving marijuana users 30 days to hand over their guns to the police in a dastardly confiscation attempt. But Hawaii is not the only state where such is happening.
Residents of Ohio can become marijuana users under state law starting in 2018, but if they do so they forfeit their right to bear arms, according to The Statesman.
People who register with the state of Ohio to legally use medical marijuana will be prohibited from possessing firearms under federal law, according to guidance released by the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.
In an open letter to federally licensed firearms dealers, the ATF advised in 2011 that marijuana is still a Schedule I controlled substance under federal law so any use of the drug is unlawful, and gun dealers are prohibited from providing guns or ammo to anyone they have cause to believe uses pot.
“There are no exceptions in federal law for marijuana purportedly used for medicinal purposes, even if such is sanctioned by state law,” the memo states. But the prohibition applies not only to firearms, but also to “shipping, transporting, receiving or possessing firearms or ammunition.”
“There is definitely a conflict between the state laws and the federal laws,” said Joe Eaton, southwest Ohio spokesman for the Buckeye Firearms Association.
“We are confused as everyone else at this point.” It’s unclear how to resolve the conflict.
Well, let me propose a solution…
Congress needs to remove marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act, and let each of the states decide how to handle the issue. The top-down approach to the drug problem has simply not worked. We have just as many, if not more, drug users in our society, and have a trillion dollar police state to accompany it. What kind of trade-off is that?
The Drug War has cost us not only trillions of dollars in our money, but also civil liberties as well. Under the guise of fighting drug crimes, police forces at the state and federal level have greatly increased their powers over our daily lives. And for what?
This is a major issue for Congress to tackle. Too many people are being sent to jail for decades for something as little as pot brownies, while rapists and murderers get just a couple of years in prison, if even that. Something is very wrong with the justice system and the time for change is now.