Sunday, August 14, 2022

Why Medical Marijuana Patients In Hawaii Can’t Own A Gun

The right to bear arms apparently does not apply to medical marijuana patients living in Hawaii. The Honolulu Police Department has been mailing letters to cannabis patients ordering them to “voluntarily surrender” their firearms within 30 days.

Honolulu police began sending the letters in January, but the issue received renewed scrutiny after it was reported by Russ Belville at The Marijuana Agenda podcast, one of the nation’s premier cannabis news podcasts.

The letter, sent by Honolulu Chief of Police Susan Ballard, reads:

“Your medical marijuana use disqualifies you from ownership of firearms and ammunition. If you currently own or have any firearms, you have 30 days upon receipt of this letter to voluntarily surrender your firearms, permit, and ammunition to the Honolulu Police Department (HPD) or otherwise transfer ownership. A medical doctor’s clearance letter is required for any future firearms applications or return of firearms from HPD evidence.”

According to the Honolulu Star-Advertiser, about 30 registered medical marijuana patients have received the letter so far. Michelle Yu, a spokeswoman for the police department, wrote in an email to the Honolulu Civil Beat that medical marijuana patients have had their permits for gun ownership denied “for years.” That includes 67 patients from between 2013 to 2016. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) wrote an“open letter in 2011 to all federal firearms licenses” that asserted “any person who uses or is addicted to marijuana … is prohibited by Federal law from possessing firearms or ammunition.”

According to

Ballard cites Section 134-7(a) of Hawaii’s Revised Statutes, which says “no person who is a fugitive from justice or is a person prohibited from possessing firearms or ammunition under federal law shall own, possess, or control any firearm or ammunition.” The relevant federal provision prohibits possession of firearms by anyone who is “an unlawful user of or addicted to any controlled substance.” Since federal law does not recognize any legitimate reason for consuming cannabis, all use is unlawful use, as the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives makes clear in a boldfaced warning on the form that must be completed by anyone buying a gun from a federally licensed dealer: “The use or possession of marijuana remains unlawful under Federal law regardless of whether it has been legalized or decriminalized for medicinal or recreational purposes in the state where you reside.”


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