Sunday, November 18News That Matters

Guns and Medical Marijuana: An Illegal Mix, According to Feds


by Joy Lepola and Paul McGrew

Guns and Medical Marijuana: An Illegal Mix, According to Feds

BALTIMORE (WBFF) – Maryland’s medical marijuana users may have gained the right to use the drug, but as a result, their right to bear arms is taken away.

Buying a handgun in Maryland requires a visit to the state police website. Log on and answer a list of questions about criminal history, and possible alcoholism when one reaches a question added last year:

Are you a legal user of cannabis (marijuana) for medical purposes or are you issued a valid medical cannabis identification number or a valid medical cannabis identification card?

Answer yes, and join the 23 other applicants blocked from buying a handgun in Maryland because of medical marijuana.

Mark Pennak is a former Department of Justice attorney, and president of Maryland Shall Issue. When he talks to gun owners, he finds they are stunned to learn that they must choose between their guns and medical marijuana.

“Their attitude is, I need this. The doctor says I need this. It helps me, and you’re telling me I have to give up my guns or I can’t buy another gun?” Pennak says.

That’s because medical marijuana is illegal under federal law, and the Gun Control Act of 1968 says one cannot buy, or continue to possess, guns while using marijuana.

Drug Counselor Mike Gimbel supports the restriction, citing marijuana’s effect on decision making and motor skills.

“Anyone who has ever gotten stoned, think about it. Do you really feel you were able to handle a gun? I don’t think so,” Gimbel says.

Pennak, the former DOJ attorney, says only an act of Congress will allow for gun ownership while using medical marijuana.

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