Be careful what you wish for.
Earlier this month, Missouri voters joined about 30 other states in approving the use of medical marijuana, but now users may have to turn in their guns before they can light up.
The new amendment will take effect on Dec. 6, but it may be June before the proper systems are in place to allow users access.
In what may soon become a battle for state’s rights, federal laws classify marijuana as a schedule 1 controlled substance and currently prohibit users of medical marijuana from owning a firearm.
According to an open letter issued by the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) in 2011, anyone who uses marijuana for any purpose is prohibited from owning a firearm.
The ATF letter reads as follows:
“Any person who uses, or is addicted to marijuana, regardless of whether his or her State has passed legislation authorizing marijuana for medicinal purposes, is an unlawful user of a controlled substance and is prohibited by federal law from possessing firearms and ammunition.”
The letter also states any person who knowingly sells firearms or ammunition to users of medical marijuana is committing a federal crime.
When filling out the standard ATF Form 4473 required to purchase new firearms, users of medical marijuana will now have to answer yes to specific questions relating to drug use despite the legality in their state.
In a Legislature dominated by Republicans, who in recent years have lifted conceal carry regulations and lightened state gun laws in general, several state lawmakers have already given residents assurances their Second Amendment rights won’t be in danger if they opt to use medical marijuana.
State Rep. Nathan Tate, R-St. Clair, says working within federal law will be tricky, but he has no doubt the House will pass some sort of legislation doing just that.
“When you are dealing with federal laws, I don’t know how it will play out,” Tate said. “We will have to look at how other states dealt with it. State sovereignty is important.”
There were seven separate bills involving marijuana proposed in the 2018 legislative session.
Tate added the House passed a form of medical marijuana legislation last year, but it didn’t make it out of the Senate Health and Pensions committee.
“I wish the version we passed had become law instead of the Amendment that was voted on,” he said. “Myself and 99 percent of my constituents are in favor of medical marijuana. I just think it should be heavily regulated. We could do that if it was our bill.”
One Democratic lawmaker from O’ Fallon has compared medical marijuana to alcohol or other prescription medications, He says Second Amendment rights aren’t stripped from those with alcohol issues or who are prescribed fentanyl patches, so what is the reasoning for doing it to those using marijuana for medicinal purposes?
Early filing of bills for the 2019 legislative session will begin Dec. 1.
Tate says he’s sure there will be several bills filed in both the House and the Senate on these topics.
Personally, he plans to again file legislation to outlaw the sales of synthetic urine and other products designed to cheat on drug tests.