Last week the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) announced that it will continue to refuse marijuana consideration for medical purposes. The announcement came via the Federal Register in response to legislators and states who have been asking that marijuana be removed as a Schedule I drug. Once again medical marijuana will not be legalized at the federal level.
Science is hard.
The DEA claims that science doesn’t support the medicinal purposes of marijuana. This is contrary to the many studies that have shown marijuana can actually be used to treat certain medical conditions.
From the Washington Post:
The latest development in the 46-year legal and policy battle over the status of marijuana disappointed advocates of looser restrictions on the drug, who had hoped that the government would carve out a special place for marijuana in the controlled-substance regulations or move it to a less tightly regulated category, Schedule II.
The federal government doesn’t seem willing to budge on medical marijuana even though 25 states, including the District of Columbia, have legalized marijuana for medicinal purposes. People from all walks of life with medical issues are now using marijuana to aid in decreasing their symptoms from Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome to nausea caused from cancer treatment. The only way marijuana laws will change is if congress actually does something about it. To date they have not.
How does this effect 2nd Amendment rights?
The other, more sinister, aspect of medical marijuana laws not being federally legalized is their relationship to gun control. Because medical marijuana is not legal at the federal level, those who are legally able to get medical marijuana cards from their states, lose their 2nd Amendment rights.
People who have these cards are considered prohibited persons according to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (BATF). Below is an ATF letter from 2011 explaining the prohibition:
On top of that, the ATF is purportedly adding changes to form 4473. This is the form that must be filled out any time a person purchases a firearm from a federally licensed firearms dealer. Going forward, anyone with a medical marijuana card will have to ‘check the box’ that they partake in this. They will be denied the ability to purchase a firearm if they check this box. If they don’t check the box and it is discovered they are indeed recipients of a medical marijuana card (potential for alert to the feds is high in states that send mental health records to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System or NICS), they can then be accused of lying on the form which is a crime. Notice the bold wording in question 11e specifically:
It doesn’t matter that some states have legalized marijuana or medical marijuana. Marijuana is still considered an illegal Schedule I drug. Anyone who has a medical marijuana card is considered a prohibited person – one who is legally prohibited from purchasing or possessing a firearm.
This has long been known as an issue but it seems many proponents of medical marijuana or legalizing marijuana at the state level haven’t thought this through. From Colorado Pot Guide:
The Second Amendment guarantees citizens the right to bear arms and many state governments have legalized medical marijuana use, but the two do not coexist very well. This forces patients to choose between the medicine they need and the protection (or perhaps fresh deer meat) they are constitutionally-promised. Even the safest, most law-abiding citizen is restricted from owning a gun if he or she admits to marijuana use. This makes marijuana patients more vulnerable to attack from either perpetrators or our own government via the drug war.
Coloradans legalized marijuana a few years ago. Some are now fighting to make sure that Colorado Sheriffs don’t deny people a concealed carry license if they are known marijuana users; however, the law is not on their side. If someone uses marijuana, they are indeed considered a prohibited person by the federal government. Sheriffs would be breaking federal law by allowing these people to carry any firearms, concealed or otherwise.
Are proponents of medical marijuana alerting supporters and potential users?
This is another side effect of the failed war on drugs. Not only is the federal government locking people up for possessing a joint for personal use but they will now deny people who are legally using medical marijuana their right to bear arms. Medical marijuana users are caught between trying to help themselves physically or trying to protect themselves physically.
It’s unclear if proponents of medical marijuana ever bring this fact up. What’s clear is many people are completely unaware of this issue. While people are clamoring for the right to use medicine that is not federally sanctioned, they are aiding and abetting the government in disarming parts of the population.
Do you believe it’s time the federal government legalize marijuana? Leave your comments below.