Due to federal law, patients in Maryland may have to give up their second amendment rights if they wish to legally receive medical marijuana.
Any time a state sets up a legal marijuana program there are bound to be some hiccups. But usually, the debate centers around tax rates and possession amounts. Maryland, on the other hand, is heading toward civil rights debate with their new medical marijuana program.
It looks like marijuana patients who want to legally acquire their medicine will have to be willing to walk away from their right to own a firearm. State authorities are telling gun dealers that they cannot sell guns to medical marijuana patients because federal law prohibits drug users from owning firearms.
Former Maryland state Del. Mike Smigiel, a gun rights advocate and sponsor of the state’s medical marijuana law does not want to see patients have to choose between their right to bear arms and medicate safely. Smigiel feels that marijuana patients should have the same rights afforded to them as those who consume alcohol.
“You don’t drink when you’re using firearms,” Smigiel told the Baltimore Sun. “I don’t know that it’s any different.”
The blunt comparison seems appropriate. No one is expected to consume alcohol just before handling their firearm. But would we ever arrest someone for having a beer the night before going to the shooting range?
Those shopping for guns will be asked if they received medical marijuana on a questionnaire before being able to make the purchase.
“Basically, anyone that smokes marijuana has to answer yes to that question,” Chad Fox, owner of Fox’s Firearms in Columbia said. “They do that, I can’t sell them a firearm.”
Morgan Fox, a spokesman for the Marijuana Policy Project, was also concerned to see a possible double standard being applied to marijuana patients.
“In general, we think medical marijuana patients should have the same rights as other law-abiding Americans,” he said.
Hawaii police also issued a similar order recently and actually went as far as to ask marijuana patients to surrender the guns they already own.