Honolulu police stop requiring pot patients to give up guns

Kent’s Note: This story comes from the Associated press

HONOLULU — Honolulu’s police chief ended a requirement that medical marijuana patients relinquish their guns.

Chief Susan Ballard said Wednesday medical marijuana patients can retain guns they already own, but they can’t buy additional guns once they become a patient, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported .

“Merely having a medical marijuana card doesn’t mean you’re using marijuana,” Ballard said. “We can’t prove you’re using marijuana. Our practice of having them turn in their firearms was incorrect.”

The department will return firearms to the two people who voluntarily relinquished them, Ballard said.

Retired state Supreme Court Justice Steven Levinson, a member of the Honolulu Police Commission, questioned why the department was denying firearm permits for marijuana patients but not people using much stronger prescription drugs.

“I’m a little puzzled as to why the distinction between medical marijuana and medical opioids,” Levinson said.

While Carl Bergquist, executive director of the Drug Policy Forum of Hawaii, said the police department should revisit the policy since medical cannabis is legal under state law.

“On behalf of physicians, nurses, caregivers and patients involved in the medical cannabis program, the assumption that they’re all impaired or a danger to society is a great insult,” Bergquist said. “A policy like this could push people out of the regulated system. We think these patients should not be stigmatized in this fashion.”



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  1. “Retired state Supreme Court Justice Steven Levinson, a member of the Honolulu Police Commission, questioned why the department was denying firearm permits for marijuana patients but not people using much stronger prescription drugs.”

    Because those drugs are authorized to be prescribed by a Doctor under Federal Law and Marijuana is NOT.

    Question 11(e) of the 4473
    e. Are you an unlawful user of, or addicted to, marijuana or any depressant, stimulant, narcotic drug, or any other controlled substance?
    Warning: The use or possession of marijuana remains unlawful under Federal law regardless of whether it has been legalized or decriminalized for medicinal or recreational purposes in the state where you reside.

    So an ABUSER of a prescription drug CAN be denied buying a gun or a concealed permit. Of course they are going to LIE about it, but that is a Federal Felony.

    • A couple of points.

      First – Under Federal law [Controlled Substances Act (CSA) (21 U.S.C. § 811)] possession of any quantity is a misdemeanor until the third instance/conviction, in which case it can be upgraded to a felony. In most, if not all, states I am aware of, a misdemeanor is not grounds to have your Constitutional right to keep and bear arms suspended. That doesn’t happen until you are a convicted felon.

      Second – Having a prescription card does not mean you are in possession, only that it can be prescribed to you under state law. Thus, the confiscation of a person’s gun due to simply having a prescription card would be like confiscating a person’s gun because they might commit a crime someday, even though they have not done so yet. Again, a violation of the Constitutional protection against illegal search and seizure as well as the right to bear arms.

      Just some thoughts. This attempt by Hawaii is not different from the DR seizing people’s guns before the hurricane struck. A gun control agenda ploy, pure and simple.

      • “possession of any quantity is a misdemeanor” WITHOUT A PRESCRIPTION.
        If you have a Doctor’s prescription you can have in your possession the prescribed (or less) amount prescribed and it is not illegal.
        Unfortunately there are Doctor’s who continuously prescribe controlled substances to their patients by accepting bribes. That person is now an abuser.
        Your are right, and so is the Chief. Having the card does not PROVE they are using MJ, but the likelihood is very high that they are. Why else would they have the card?

  2. This had nothing to do with any concern that a medical marijuana user is impaired in any way, it was simply an excuse for the extremely Liberal Hawaiian government to confiscate guns. The entire concept that someone who uses marijuana is a danger and must have their guns confiscated, when people who use and abuse alcohol don’t have to turn theirs in is utterly ludicrous. In 99% of the cases, someone who is high on weed is much less impaired and far more docile than someone who is drunk. Again, just smoke and mirrors to push a gun control agenda.

    • John Lloyd Scharf on

      Medically, I could benefit from the use of pot and could grow it without cost in Oregon. However, I refuse to jeopardize my right to self defense. There are many intoxicating drugs in the world. Even caffeine could make you more dangerous with a firearm than marijuana. My use of caffeine is educated by reading and experience. Prohibition is a form of terrorism. It is used

      Terrorism is, in the broadest sense, the use of intentionally indiscriminate violence as a means to create terror, or fear, to achieve a political, religious or ideological aim. It is used in this regard primarily to refer to violence against peacetime targets or in war against non-combatants.

      The use of prohibition arbitrarily, ambiguously and capriciously to deny the civil and natural self-evident and inalienable right to self defense is terrorism. They did not go after people prescribed valium, which mimics and is cross-tolerant with alcohol while being at least as addictive. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2289311/Valium-Its-addictive-heroin-horrifying-effects-given-millions.html

      So, the question on the form makes it a felony so they can raid your home for any drug they cannot collect a federal tax on and the more common the substance, the more easily they can justify the raid of any home. It is not just that the government can convict you of a felony for lying.

      It also means your word is no longer good. So, if you buy a firearm while using pot, you lose your integrity and morality in order to protect you life. I cannot count on you not to be drunk while driving or in possession of a firearm if your integrity and morality are already compromised. You have no honor. It is time to change the law, but not your honor.

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