Under the Microscope: Cannabis and Gun Owners

Under the Microscope: Cannabis and Gun Owners

More and more states are decriminalizing marijuana, which is a blessing for medical patients who rely on cannabis to manage their symptoms. But the federal government still holds a strong line on drug and firearm possession, which has put medical cannabis users right in the crosshairs.

In June, Oklahoma became one of the latest states to decriminalize medical marijuana. While medical cannabis patients in the state likely rejoiced, those patients who also own guns may have been left scratching their heads. The reason? Under federal law and the jurisdiction of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms, it is illegal for an individual to possess marijuana — legally or illegally — and a firearm at the same time.

In the case of decriminalized and medical marijuana, state jurisdiction is overruled by federal law. So, naturally, many cannabis patients across the country who owned guns before state laws changed are concerned they could be arrested.

Is It Fair?

Despite the obvious anxiety of possible arrest, the gist of the entire gun/cannabis debate centers on individual rights. Which governing body takes precedent? Currently the federal government is banning gun ownership for those with legally prescribed medical marijuana cards, leading many gun owners in these states to cry foul.

The question of safety is obvious, but for many, the risks of marijuana users owning guns do not present the same risk as alcohol consumers. And with bars in some states allowing gun owners to open carry their firearms, the frustration felt by cannabis users can be understood.

A Change Is Gonna Come

As more states choose to legalize recreational and medicinal marijuana, more and more pressure will be placed on the federal government, especially in terms of its interpretation of age-old laws. In the era of safe, recreational weed, laws must be revised and reinterpreted to better serve their intended purposes of keeping U.S. citizens safe.

Until then, the debate will rage on, with people from coast to coast rushing to the defense of both sides. Unfortunately, legislative change takes actual acts of congress, so it may be a while before any actual federal laws adapt to these modern times.

Until then, what say you? Do you think guns and weed are fine in responsible hands or a threat to public safety?