Guns Or Pot, You Can’t Have Both

Written by Adam English
Posted January 9, 2018 at 3:29PM

Attorney General Jeff Sessions clearing the way for Department of Justice staff to pursue federal intervention in the medical marijuana sector is big news.

But another issue is coming to light that pits the federal government against the states, and I'd say it shows an even bigger — and harder to heal — schism.

The role of federal overreach goes far deeper than just the antiquated and disastrous inclusion of marijuana in the utterly failed “War on Drugs” and the policies that remain in effect.

Here in Maryland, a new issue is rearing its ugly head. One that cuts right to the core of federalism, patient rights, and the Bill of Rights.

You can use medical marijuana or you can own guns. You can’t do both.

And it isn’t just going to be an in-state issue. This is going to be a nationwide problem.

One Little Question

The Maryland State Police oversee gun ownership in this state, as is common across the nation.

Following a 2013 state law, anyone who wants to purchase, rent, or transfer a firearm needs to fill out a form and pay a small fee.

The problem is, the Maryland State Police have added one little question to that form in the last couple months that pits 2nd Amendment rights against patient rights and state law.

It is short and seemingly simple — Do you possess a medical marijuana card? The ramifications are severe.

As you can probably guess, you can’t lie on the form. Even if you could abstain from answering, cardholders must allow the state health department to disclose if they have applied for one by law.

No person “who is an unlawful user of or addicted to any controlled substance” may “possess... or… receive any firearm or ammunition.” In addition, it is unlawful for “any person to sell or otherwise dispose of any firearm or ammunition to any person knowing or having reasonable cause to believe that such person… is an unlawful user of or addicted to any controlled substance.”

The ATF weighed in on the topic back in 2011, making it clear to all gun dealers that they will be held accountable for any such transactions.

A federal appeals court in California upheld a lower court ruling that a Nevada woman should be denied a gun purchase for possessing a medical marijuana card even without evidence of any marijuana use.

The hands of gun shop owners and staff are tied when processing the forms for their customers. There is no room for discretion or avoiding the question.

And just like that, a state police form forces you to make a choice between your rights as a patient to make informed decisions about your treatment and your rights as a citizen to bear arms.

Don't Blame The Police

Former Maryland state Del. Mike Smigiel, who sponsored medical marijuana laws and is a staunch advocate of gun rights, told The Baltimore Sun, “You don’t drink when you’re using firearms. I don’t know that it’s any different.”

I think that doesn't quite hit the mark. Alcohol is a recreational drug. Medical marijuana is a doctor prescribed and heavily regulated therapeutic treatment.

You shouldn't operate firearms, vehicles, or heavy machinery when using some prescription medicine. Even some over-the-counter medicines are ill-advised.

But no one is asking you questions on a form about any of those.

He is coming from the right place. Certain things don't mix, and the law and state police agencies already allow for self-policing of behaviors that are just as, if not far more, potentially deleterious.

I don't blame the state police though. They are stuck between a rock and a hard place.

A Pew Research Center poll last year showed that over two-thirds of police officers feel marijuana should be legal for personal or medical use. It breaks down to 32% in support of recreational and medical, with another 37% tagged on for medical use only for a combined 69%.

That compares to 83% of Americans who support medical marijuana.

Even breaking down the numbers by political party, support for broad legalization for purely personal use has crossed into majorities for Democrats, Republicans, and Independents.

marijuana support by political affiliation 2017

It is clear that Americans have seen what medical use means in practice now that about half of the states have given it the green light, and have shed the antiquated views of the past that have, quite frankly, never been substantiated

The only question is, when will Congress and the Senate realize that they are ethically obligated to act in the best interests, and on behalf of a decisive majority of Americans?

Move (Your Money) To Canada

As with any issue put in front of our elected officials, I wouldn't hold your breath waiting for a reasonable solution.

But until federal representatives and officials catch up with what the people they supposedly represent believe, one course of action stands out for people who want to invest in the marijuana sector.

Look to Canada for the biggest gains in the sector and for less regulatory uncertainty.

The legal overhaul in Canada was comprehensive and decisive. Outstanding issues were addressed in one fell swoop. If only Americans had similarly responsive representatives.

The national changes last year dealt with prior legislation and regulations in a way that left far less ambiguity for how companies and patients should proceed.

And it is creating a huge advantage. U.S.-based companies are being left behind as groundbreaking work on developing medical marijuana and exporting it on an international scale is exclusively handled north of the border.

One company in particular has leveraged the legal advantages to develop a sustained-release prescription that will be proven to be competitive with the latest patent-protected U.S.-developed, opioid-based drugs without the burden of addiction or intoxication.

And this pharmaceutical approach is quickly being heralded as a fast-track solution for both Canadian and U.S. markets.

The Outsider Club's in-house expert on the sector, Jimmy Mengel, has already issued an in-depth research report on the company to his readers. It's not too late to get in on the ground floor.

Take care,

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Adam English

follow basic @AdamEnglishOC on Twitter

Adam's editorial talents and analysis drew the attention of senior editors at Outsider Club, which he joined in mid-2012. While he has acquired years of hands-on experience in the editorial room by working side by side with ex-brokers, options floor traders, and financial advisors, he is acutely aware of the challenges faced by retail investors after starting at the ground floor in the financial publishing field. For more on Adam, check out his editor's page

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