Patients in Pennsylvania must choose: Medical marijuana or gun ownership


The town drunk can buy firearms. So can someone who has been involuntarily placed in a mental hospital for a short stay. But anyone who wants to treat Crohn’s disease with medical marijuana is forbidden from owning a gun.

Pennsylvania is preparing to roll out a statewide program in early 2018 that will provide medicinal cannabis products to patients suffering from 17 serious health conditions.

But some sick people will have to make a difficult decision: Is taking the medicine worth surrendering what gun-owning advocates see as an enshrined constitutional right?

“It’s hypocritical,” said lawyer Andrew Sacks, the co-chair of the Pennsylvania Bar Association’s Medical Marijuana and Hemp Law Committee.

“You can be an opioid addict, or buy a bottle of rum, drink it and go to a store and buy one,” Sacks said. “But a person who is registered as a medical marijuana patient in Pennsylvania, and has a very small dosage of THC, can’t own a gun to protect themselves or hunt.”

A state police spokesman strongly suggested that patients also consider the consequences of holding on to any guns bought before enrolling in the medical marijuana program .

“It’s unlawful to keep possession of firearms obtained prior to registering,” Ryan Tarkowski said. “The Pennsylvania State Police is not in the business of offering legal advice, but it might be a good idea to contact an attorney about how best to dispose of their firearms.”

Twenty-nine states have legalized marijuana in some form.

But under federal law, all forms of marijuana remain strictly forbidden. The DEA considers it a Schedule 1 drug, on par with heroin and LSD.

The federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives regulates the sale and ownership of guns and ammunition across the nation. ATF spokeswoman Cherie R. Duvall-Jones said any use of marijuana is a disqualifier.

“There are no exceptions in federal law for marijuana purportedly used for medicinal purposes, even if such use is sanctioned by state law,” said Duvall-Jones.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in 2016 that the federal prohibition does not violate the Second Amendment.

The NRA has remained silent on the issue. A spokesman did not respond to a request for comment.


12 Comments on Patients in Pennsylvania must choose: Medical marijuana or gun ownership

  1. “The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in 2016 that the federal prohibition does not violate the Second Amendment.”

    The 9th doesn’t even recognize the Second Amendment. Trust me.

  2. Cannabis is the last thing to make you grab a Gun, if anything it creates a fear of guns ! Your afternoon cup of Earl Grey Tea is more likely to set you off !


    We will do what we want, until the courts tell us we can’t do that.

    Your rights are not respected by anybody. The only thing that makes your rights IS the firearm.

  4. Why let the Government take any more freedom from you, without even a sound reason to give ? My Beer and Your Beer will be next, drink that Beer and they will have your Gun’s ! Consider this a Test !!!

  5. I’m one of the few people born in the 50’s who has never tried marijuana. I don’t drink either. Or smoke
    Ok….. now the crust of this comment. Always choose the gun over anything else.
    With a gun you can get all the marijuana you want. In fact with a gun you can get almost anything including more guns.

  6. No one needs a medical pot card. Pot is everywhere. Keep your freedom and buy pot the same way you always did. Keep your gun!!!!!!! Keep the government away from your life as much as possible.


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