HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – Pennsylvania is still in the process of rolling out its medical marijuana program, but when it does, users will face a controversial decision.
This week, a federal appeals court in California ruled a ban on guns sales to medical marijuana users is not a violation of Second Amendment rights.
The decision was handed down after a medical marijuana patient tried to buy a firearm and was denied after the store cited a federal law that bans the sale of guns to illegal drug users.
“[Marijuana] is a Schedule I drug,” said Justin McShane, a lead program attorney for U.S. Law Shield. “[It’s] controlled by the DEA federally. Just because a state allows for medicinal or even recreation use of marijuana, that doesn’t change that.”
McShane explained that in 2011, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives sent a letter to gun dealers stating they should not sell firearms to medical marijuana users. He said the court’s decision forces potential medical marijuana patients in Pennsylvania to make a choice.
“If you are thinking of applying for a medical marijuana license, you need to be very, very careful because you run the great risk of not being able to enjoy your Second Amendment rights,” he said.
McShane said in order to clear some confusion, the form for folks buying a gun is changing to include a question about medical marijuana. He provided hope to some by saying more states are changing their stances on the drug.
“Does that solve the problem when it comes to federal interpretation of guns and medical marijuana?” McShane asked. “Absolutely not. That’s probably going to require a change in Congress.”
McShane said it’s not clear what will happen to those who have open-carry permits and seek to use medical marijuana.