While the controversial issue of Illinois’ medical marijuana patients being refused the right to gun ownership was eliminated by state regulators last April, it did not prevent the state police from sending out notices to a number of program participants last week informing them that their firearm privileges had been revoked.
Reports indicate that the Illinois State Police mistakenly sent out letters to a handful of patients recently suggesting that their desire to hold a medical marijuana card had rendered their firearms permission null and void. Although a representative for the ISP claims the blunder was caught relatively quickly and then remedied, some patients are concerned that this is just the first of many issues that will likely rear its ugly head due to the mixed feelings associated with medical marijuana.
Even the ISP’s website includes the language “I am not a medical marijuana patient” on its checklist for applying for a firearm owners identification card. And while the agency claims they are working to fix this discrepancy, some legal experts have suggested that law enforcement is not at all too concerned with appeasing the medical marijuana community.
“Even taking their word for it,” said Canna Law Group attorney Tyler Anthony, “they shouldn’t be careless with citizens’ constitutional rights, especially when their position lacks any clear legal basis.”
During the debate over medical marijuana and gun ownership, many patients said that they would rather continue purchasing weed from the black market than give up their constitutional right to carry a firearm. After a number of complaints from gun owners — most of which suggested the gun provision was a blatant disregard for their rights as citizens — the language was stricken from the final rules. And while this action was both a victory for patients and local marijuana activists, there were plenty of opposing forces left seething at the concept of pistol-packing potheads. Even some marijuana-related businesses voiced concerns.
The concept of not allowing medical marijuana patients to own guns is as ridiculous as it should be a vulgar violation of individual rights. After all, there are no stipulations on gun ownership for patients being treated with dangerous pharmaceutical drugs.
But the ISP appears to be taking the lead from the higher ups in Washington D.C.
Although Illinois decided in 2014 that medical marijuana patients could have guns, the federal government still considers this ideology a major violation to its rules regarding firearms and controlled substances. According to the 1968 Gun Control Act, anyone “who is an unlawful user of or addicted to any controlled substances” cannot legally own guns and ammunition.
Therefore, while Illinois officials say they are “continuing to examine how the state’s medical cannabis and firearm laws may interact with federal firearm laws,” it appears they could find out soon enough that patients with guns may be at risk for an unsavory visit from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. It is likely that once Uncle Sam decides to get involved, patients may have no choice but to seek clarity from the courts on how the Second Amendment applies to state medical marijuana laws.
Should smoking medical marijuana strip patients of other constitutional rights? Tell us what you think in the comments below.