Honolulu Police Say Medical Marijuana Users ‘Have 30 Days’ to Turn in Their Guns

Honolulu Police Department has been sending out letters to legal users of medicinal weed that they must forfeit their weapons, as reported by multiple news organizations.

The first legal medical marijuana dispensary opened in Hawaii this August, according to the Associated Press, even though medicinal pot was first legalized in 2000. There are currently 29 states that have some form of legalized medical pot.

But the drug is still illegal under federal law, which trumps any laws on weed that states may pass, Joshua E. Jackson, spokesman for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), told LeHigh Valley Live in Pennsylvania.

“There are no exceptions in federal law for marijuana used for medicinal or recreational purposes,” he said.

Results from the 2016 election brought about new rules on the use of recreational and medicinal marijuana in several states, with more than half now allowing for the latter. Federal government leaders including president-elect Donald Trump have voiced their opinion on the changing state of mind around marijuana. Is this the beginning of the end of marijuana prohibition?

The letters in Hawaii have been coming out at least since the beginning of this year, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported, including one dated Nov. 13 that told medical weed card holders they “have 30 days upon receipt of this letter to voluntarily surrender your firearms.”

“Your medical marijuana use disqualifies you from ownership of firearms and ammunition,” read the letter signed by police chief Susan Ballard, according to the Star-Advertiser.

The Honolulu Police Department confirmed the news to Leafly, which also included an image of the letter in its story. It has been sent to about 30 registered medical cannabis users so far, according to the Star-Advertiser.

Michelle Yu, a spokeswoman for the Honolulu Police Department, wrote in an email to the Honolulu Civil Beat that medical weed patients have had their permits for gun ownership denied “for years.” That includes 67 patients from between 2013 to 2016.

In 2011, the ATF wrote an “open letter to all federal firearms licenses” that said “any person who uses or is addicted to marijuana … is prohibited by Federal law from possessing firearms or ammunition.”

Hawaii, which requires all medical marijuana users to register in a state-run patient registry, is the first state to make gun owners register all their weapons with the county police chief, according to Guns.com.

HPD spokeswoman Yu told the Civil Beat that the police department has been able to access the list of medical marijuana patients since 2000, when it was started by the state’s Department of Public Safety.

“Checking the database is now part of the department’s standard background verification for all gun applicants,” she wrote.

Reason.com, which noted that it is still not known what will happen to those who don’t turn over their guns, suggested that those two databases for guns and marijuana are “how (police chief) Ballard knew where to send her warning.”

The letters come after a 2016 ruling from the 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals that said it isn’t an infringement of someone’s Second Amendment rights to ban them from buying a gun if they use weed.

“It is beyond dispute that illegal drug users, including marijuana users, are likely as a consequence of that use to experience altered or impaired mental states that affect their judgment and that can lead to irrational or unpredictable behavior,” the court said.

Source: http://www.miamiherald.com/news/nation-world/national/article187082303.html