Guns or marijuana? Some patients will have to make the choice

Guns or marijuana? Some patients will have to make the choice

As Louisiana’s medical marijuana program takes shape some patients might have to make a difficult choice: keep their gun ownership rights or participate in the program.(AP Photo/Ed Andrieski) As Louisiana’s medical marijuana program takes shape some patients might have to make a difficult choice: keep their gun ownership rights or participate in the program. Louisiana is one of 30 states that have approved medical marijuana laws in some form. Although the state’s nine dispensaries won’t open until later this year, patients who qualify for medical marijuana under Louisiana law may be surprised to learn that federal law restricts their ability to purchase a gun if they use marijuana. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) has not budged from their stance published in a 2011 memo that addressed this issue. The letter notes that the Controlled Substance Act prohibits anyone who is an "unlawful user of or addicted to any controlled substance from shipping, transporting, receiving, or possessing firearms or ammunition." Marijuana is classified as a Schedule I controlled substance and under that classification is not considered medicine under federal law. According to the ATF memo, "any person who uses or is addicted to marijuana, regardless of whether his or her state has passed legislation authorizing marijuana use for medicinal purposes, is an unlawful user of or addicted to a controlled substance and is prohibited by Federal law from possessing firearms or ammunition." Although the National Rifle Association has not taken a public stance in support of […]

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