For possibly the first time in history, some medical marijuana patients are being ordered to surrender any guns they may lawfully possess. In Hawaii, the Honolulu Police Department, recently sent letters to registered medical marijuana patients letting them know they need to get rid of their guns.
Patients were informed that they have 30 days upon receipt of the letter to either transfer ownership of their weapons, or turn them in (along with their ammo) to the Honolulu police.
Federal Law Prohibits Using Medical Marijuana and Owning a Weapon
Federal law still prohibits the use of marijuana, medical or otherwise. Because of this, under federal law it’s illegal to possess a firearm and be a registered medical marijuana patient. In fact, anyone who admittedly uses cannabis is prohibited to possess a gun.
It’s required that anyone who wants to purchase a gun in the America fills out US Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms Form (ATF) 1140-0020. In the form, people applying for gun purchase are questioned if they’re “an unlawful user of, or addicted to, marijuana or any depressant, stimulant, narcotic drug, or any other controlled substance.”
It’s probably safe to say that not everyone who purchases a gun in the US tells the truth on this form. There are millions of registered medical marijuana patients in the US, and you can probably bet on the fact that many of them are also registered gun owners.
While all licensed gun dealers are required to do background checks, people selling guns at gun shows, flea markets, and pawn shops aren’t. It’s estimated that over 20% of all gun purchases in the US are done without a background check being performed.
In 2016, it was determined that a federal ban on gun sales to medical cannabis patients does not violate the Second Amendment. The federal ruling stated: “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. 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.”
Hawaii Will Uphold Federal AND State Laws Regarding MMJ and Firearms
Apparently, officials in Hawaii feel the same. The letters were sent just three short months after Hawaii’s first medical dispensary opened in Honolulu. In the letters however, the Honolulu Police Department makes reference to state law, not federal law. How medical marijuana patients who also happen to be gun owners will react to these letters, remains yet to be seen.
Do you believe medical marijuana patients should be forced to surrender their weapons? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.