If you find yourself asking, \”can I own a gun if I have a medical card in Ohio?\” The answer is no according to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. After the Honolulu police department sent a letter to Hawaii\’s medical marijuana patients telling them to turn over their firearms due to federal restrictions concerning guns and marijuana use, alarm bells are now sounding for gun advocates in other states about what legal marijuana means to them.
Ohio is the most recent state to raise concerns knowing that patients will start to have access to medical marijuana by September of 2018. The Buckeye Firearms Association is a gun advocacy group in Ohio that recently expressed some strong concerns, and also confusion, about what legal medical marijuana will mean to the state. Ohio has struggled to determine how to implement its state medical marijuana laws but the program has now gained a lot of traction.
In an open letter to federally licensed firearms dealers, the ATF advised in 2011 that marijuana is still a Schedule I controlled substance under federal law so any use of the drug is unlawful, and gun dealers are prohibited from providing guns or ammo to anyone they have cause to believe uses pot.
“There are no exceptions in federal law for marijuana purportedly used for medicinal purposes, even if such is sanctioned by state law,” the memo says.
The law applies to more than just buying guns. The ATF letter says marijuana users are prohibited from “shipping, transporting, receiving or possessing firearms or ammunition.”
Anyone applying to purchase a gun from a licensed dealer must sign a form attesting he or she is not “an unlawful user of, or addicted to, marijuana or any depressant, stimulant, narcotic drug, or any other controlled substance.”
“There is definitely a conflict between the state laws and the federal laws,” said Joe Eaton, southwest Ohio spokesman for the Buckeye Firearms Association.
It’s not clear how to reconcile that conflict, he said, “We are confused as everyone else at this point.”
The issue continues to come back to state laws versus federal laws and what the federal government will do to enforce laws. The real challenge with the issue is not just people worrying about their right to bear arms, but also whether gun control like this will allow the illegal marijuana market to prevail.