Honolulu’s police department recently sent letters to registered medicinal pot users, stating they had 30 days to voluntarily turn in their guns—that is, until public outcry prompted a review and ultimate reversal of the policy.
Federal law on marijuana use and gun ownership
The department issued the order because federal law prohibits anyone who uses illegal substances from owning a firearm, and—so far as the federal government is concerned—marijuana is still a controlled drug. That means medical marijuana users who own firearms are technically in violation of federal gun laws.
Public backlash leads to reversal
An intense public backlash resulted in the city’s police department putting the policy on hold in order to conduct further study of the issue.
“This is a new area of concern for cities across the country, and we in Honolulu want to develop a policy that’s legally sound and serves our community.”
- Honolulu Police Chief Susan Ballard
As a result of their review, earlier this month, Honolulu’s police chief ended the requirement that medicinal pot users turn over their guns.
Medicinal marijuana programs and guns in NH
New Hampshire currently has no laws specifically addressing gun ownership and medicinal pot use.
Medicinal pot users are breaking federal law and therefore should not be allowed to possess weapons
Supporters of requiring marijuana patients to turn over their guns say that it is dangerous to mix firearms with a substance that can impair one’s judgment. They also note that being a user of a controlled substance, whether for medicinal or recreational purposes, is still a criminal offense under federal law.
Medicinal pot patients should not be denied their Second Amendment rights
Others argue that medical marijuana does no more to impair judgement than drinking alcohol or using prescription drugs—and use of those substances does not preclude gun ownership. They note that the right to bear arms is guaranteed by the Constitution, and question whether use of any medically necessary drug should be considered grounds to compromise that right.
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