Medical marijuana patients should be able to buy guns too

Dorian Uson, Staff Writer

        The state of California, and 28 other states, have legalized medical marijuana. In order to legally obtain marijuana, one must first register for a medical marijuana card. However, many Americans do not know that if they register for a medical marijuana card, they can no longer buy any guns or ammunition. For many, this may seem like not a big deal, but most people were not made aware of this before signing up for a medical marijuana card and have now blindly signed away their second amendment right and have no way of getting it back. This is unfair to Americans because marijuana is not a dangerous drug; medicinal use is necessary for many to live a comfortable life, and it is wrong that many are unaware of this law.

According to the California Department of Justice website, in order to buy a gun, “A person must be at least 18 years of age to purchase a rifle or shotgun. To purchase a handgun, a person must be at least 21 years of age. As part of the DROS process, the purchaser must present “clear evidence of identity and age” which is defined as a valid, non-expired California Driver’s License or Identification Card issued by the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). A military identification accompanied by permanent duty station orders indicating a posting in California is also acceptable. If the purchaser is not a U.S. Citizen, then he or she is required to demonstrate that he or she is legally within the United States by providing the firearms dealer with documentation containing his/her Alien Registration Number or I-94 Number.” Nowhere on the website does it mention that if you are a carrier of a medical marijuana card that you cannot purchase a gun. Someone who purchases marijuana without a prescription can still legally own a rifle or shotgun, but that same person can’t legally buy a gun when they turn 21 if they are ill, and use medical legal marijuana to help with pain management. How does this make sense to lawmakers? How has the hidden law been around without Americans being aware until it is too late?

According to the Democratic party platform website, their stance on gun violence and prevention is linked to the medical marijuana law. “We will fight back against attempts to make it harder for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives to revoke federal licenses from law breaking gun dealers, and ensure guns do not fall into the hands of terrorists, intimate partner abusers, other violent criminals, and those with severe mental health issues.”

The Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, released an open letter after a court case in 2011. The letter states “As you know, Federal law, 18 U. S. C section 922(g)(3), prohibits any person who is an “unlawful user of or addicted to any controlled substance (as defined in section 102 of the controlled Substance Act (21 U.S.C. 802))” from shipping, transporting, receiving, or possessing firearms or ammunition. Marijuana is listed in the Controlled Substances Act as a Schedule I controlled substance, and there are no exceptions in Federal law for marijuana purportedly used for medicinal purposes, even if such use is sanctions by State law….Therefore, any person who uses medical marijuana, regardless of whether his or her state has passed legislation authorizing marijuana use for medicinal purposes is an unlawful user of or addicted to a controlled substance and is prohibited by Federal law from possessing firearms or ammunition.” While Marijuana is on the controlled substance list, there are hundreds of other substances that are also on that list that have many more dangerous side effects than marijuana. According to the Drug Institute’s Drug Abuse website, the short term side effects of marijuana (what you feel when you’re high) are “altered senses (for example, seeing brighter colors), altered sense of time, changes in mood, impaired body movement, difficulty with thinking and problem-solving, impaired memory,” None of these causes users to be violent or put any other persons in harm’s way. Substances like Xanax, or even alcohol have more serious effects. You can legally buy a gun, and buy alcohol and get drunk beyond memory and the effects would be much worse than if you were high on marijuana, which many medical marijuana users are not due to reduced THC levels in the product.

        This unknown law is unfair to Americans. Many people are in need of medical marijuana for relief from symptoms and side effects of treatments or medicine. Most Americans are unaware of the rule prohibiting sales to med card holders, and are basically blindly signing away their second amendment right in order to to cope with a painful condition. Usage of marijuana is not implicit of anything when it comes to the character of the user. According to Business Insider, “There are at least two active chemicals in marijuana that researchers think have medicinal applications. Those are cannabidiol (CBD) — which seems to impact the brain without a high— and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) — which has pain relieving (and other) properties.”

Lawmakers should provide transparency when imposing laws like this. Marijuana is used for medical purposes for a reason. If a doctor can prescribe it to you, and the effects do not have any chance of making you harm others, then you should be able to legally obtain a gun. It is unjust the way lawmakers have been hiding this from American citizens until it is too late. We have the Second Amendment right for a reason and should not be swindled into accidentally signing it away.