PA Governor: We’re Not Taking Away Guns From Medical Marijuana Users

The conflict among state and federal law causes worry.

PA Governor: We Are Not Taking Away Guns From Medical Marijuana Users
Photo by Norm_Bosworth via Pixabay

As federal law continues to prohibit all types of marijuana, and with Attorney General Jeff Sessions rescinding the Obama-era Cole memorandum and launching a crackdown on marijuana, the friction between states with legalized marijuana and the federal government is at an all-time high.

Pennsylvania is among the states to recently join that fray, as the state is putting the finishing touches on its medical marijuana program roll out. Currently, more than 10,0000 citizens are registered to receive a medical marijuana card. Some of those Pennsylvanians, however, are only now starting to learn the federal government bans gun sales to medical marijuana card holders.

The worry caused by such a tension caused Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf to clarify the state’s policy on the issue.

“We’re not going to take their guns away,” Wolf told WESA, Pittsburgh’s local NPR station.

Because the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives oversees the sales of firearms, federal law takes precedent. When state residents sign up for a Pennsylvania medical marijuana card, they also join a registry that gun merchants reference before the sale of firearms. Any person legally purchasing a gun must fill out ATF Form 4473, which includes the question:

Are you an unlawful user of, or addicted to, marijuana or any depressant, stimulant, narcotic drug, or any other controlled substance?

The form further clarifies:

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.

“People should not have to make that choice,” Wolf said. He also added, “The federal government needs to do the right thing here.”

Pennsylvania State Police have advised residents that they do not need to get rid of their guns if registering for a medical marijuana card. If seeking clarification about medical marijuana registration and gun ownership, residents should seek out their local attorney.

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