Medical Marijuana Patients in Hawaii Asked to Surrender Their Weapons

By Ashley P.
The Honolulu Police Department has sent out letters to medical marijuana patients on Oahu asking them to surrender their guns, per federal regulations.

This very well may be the first time any law enforcement agency has contacted medical marijuana patients registered with their state and ordered them to voluntarily surrender their firearms. Medicinal cannabis consumers on Oahu were sought out by the Honolulu Police Department, which sent out letters earlier today that were signed by Police Chief Susan Ballard and informed patients they will have to turn in their guns and ammunition to the Honolulu Police within 30 days.

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But really, the state is simply adhering to federal law, which dictates that anyone who consumes cannabis must be prohibited from purchasing firearms. This same law is the reason cannabis users in Hawaii are being denied gun permits, since being in the state registry for medical marijuana makes the fact that they're consuming cannabis regularly easily accessible.

Currently, Oahu is the only island requiring its residents to give up their firearms and nothing is set in stone for other highly-populated islands such as Maui, which currently has operational medical marijuana dispensaries. Kauai and the Big Island are set to have functional dispensaries soon, although medical marijuana has been legal throughout the state for 17 years—patients have had to grow their own plants until now.

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So, if you live in Hawaii and can't decide if your love is stronger for guns or weed, definitely take this into consideration before putting yourself in the state database for medical marijuana patients because you may need to choose one over the other.

In my personal opinion, I must admit that this is a bit oxymoronic considering the state is breaking federal law by allowing the legalization of marijuana in the first place.

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Also, after all the recent talk about reforming firearm laws and increasing gun control, I was hoping that someone would take initiative. And Hawaii has been on the forefront of many pressing issues in the past such as same sex marriage, tobacco control and sustainable energy, so I expected them to take a step forward instead of back. Because, if you think about it, stoners are probably the least likely group of humans to abuse any sort of weapon.

I just don't see how denying cannabis consumers their right to bear arms is going to prevent any catastrophes or solve any of our society's problems. Maybe we should instead considering banning people with a violent criminal past or those with severe mental health issues who are a danger to others even without a deadly weapon.

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But, yet, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit does not have the same opinions as I do. Last year, they had a 3-0 vote that unanimously decided that it is reasonable for federal regulators to assume that a medical marijuana card holder is likely to use cannabis and can therefore be denied the acquisition of a firearm.

“It may be argued that medical marijuana users are less likely to commit violent crimes, as they often suffer from debilitating illnesses, for which marijuana may be an effective palliative,” the federal ruling stated. “But those hypotheses are not sufficient to overcome Congress’s reasonable conclusion that the use of such drugs raises the risk of irrational or unpredictable behavior with which gun use should not be associated.”

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All I can say is that clearly these lawmakers have never smoked a joint in their lives.

About the author: Ashley P.

Ashley is one of our contributors on lifestyle and products. Originally from Hawaii, she's currently enjoying the California sun. She likes going to the beach, good foods, researching on all things cannabis-related.