Gun laws and marijuana are a hot topic these days. Since Hawaii sent letters to medical marijuana patients late last year demanding they relinquish their weapons, people across the country have taken notice.
Just last week, the president of Pennsylvania’s District Attorney’s Office, John T. Adams made his stance on the matter known. He doesn’t believe medical marijuana patients have the right to own weapons. “They’re going to have to make a choice,” Adams said. “They can have their guns or their marijuana, but they can’t have both.”
Some state officials however, feel otherwise. State officials in Pennsylvania recently announced they would no longer be providing the state’s medical marijuana registry to police officers. Instead, police will have to identify a medical marijuana patient by asking for their state-issued medical marijuana card.
The decision comes in response to a public fury over the comments recently made by Adams.
Under the Controlled Substances Act, medical marijuana patients registered in legal states are banned from purchasing (and owning) firearms. Implementation of this law however, has been different in various states across the country. For the most part, gun owners have been left alone. In Hawaii, the letters sent to gun owners demanding they “surrender their weapons” was rescinded after public outcry.
April Hutcheson, spokeswoman for the Pennsylvania Health Department says, “It’s essential that we treat medical marijuana as we would any other medication, and that we protect patient privacy in the process. As with any other health information, patient information regarding medical marijuana is not accessible to police.”
Pennsylvania is home to over one million active carry permits, as well as some 10,000 registered medical marijuana patients. As the second most-armed state in the country (after Florida), Pennsylvania residents are all about their constitutional freedom under the Second Amendment. And now, those that also hold medical marijuana cards will be able to purchase their guns without being automatically flagged.
“Each medical marijuana ID card has an expiration date and a seal,” Hutcheson says, “which is used to verify authenticity. In the case that law enforcement needs to verify a patient’s participation in the program, they will rely on the patient’s medical marijuana ID card.”