The second amendment to the U.S. Constituion, as part of the Bill of Rights, is the “right to keep and bear arms” has been under attack by prosecutors in almost all states with a medical Marijuana program, currently 17 last I checked.
In the supreme court case District of Columbia v. Heller the supreme court found that the carrying of firearms for self defense was implied in the second amendment, further in McDonald v. Chicago this right was extended to the states by way of the 14th amendment.
Today, this constitutionally protected right as applied to Medical Marijuana users is under attack all over the United States. An Alcohol Tobacco and Firearm’s memo said “federal law prohibits unlawful users of controlled substances — including state certified medical marijuana patients — from possessing firearms or ammunition.” Despite their apparent ‘clarification’ a memo from the ATF doesn’t hold the up in court, this just tells you how they will attempt to enforce the law.
Just to purchase a gun, a Medical Marijuana user must bypass a question on the requisition form regarding marijuana. Making it impossible to obtain a handgun without defrauding the seller. One article on tumblr does mention a potential ‘loop hole‘ in the ATF wording, which ask if the person applying for a gun is “addicted” to marijuana.
It remains to be seen as to whether or not this tumblr defense would hold up in court, but what I do know is that the Michigan prosecutors have been really using this gun-marijuana conflict to stick people with mandatory two year sentencing for violation of gun laws.
The Safe Access Now, an organization ‘dedicated to meeting the immediate needs of medical cannabis patients and their providers while creating a movement to promote safe and legal access,’ had the following recommendation:
Firearms can also result in harsher sentencing. “Any person who, during any drug trafficking crime for which the person may be prosecuted in a court of the United States, uses or carries a firearm, or who, in furtherance of any such crime, possesses a firearm, shall:
- Be sentenced to a term of imprisonment of not less than 5 years;
- If the firearm is brandished, not less than 7 years; and
- If the firearm is discharged, not less than 10 years.”
Although the U.S. Constitution confers a right to carry firearms, we have seen many patients face extreme legal consequences for having firearms in addition to plants. ASA strongly advises that if you are a medical marijuana patient, do not carry or keep firearms on your property.
Heating up this debate is the fact that Michigan is a state full of hunters, and has historically supported gun rights laws very strongly. Stories have indicated that DNR aggressively prosecuted Medical Marijuana patient/hunters.
This confusion leaves medical marijuana patients and caregivers in a sticky and stinky situation (in a bad way), to either play it safe and allow themselves, particularly for caregivers who may be growing thousands of dollars worth of marijuana for patient consumption, to remain in great danger or to risk mandatory sentencing and keep their weapons. The fact of the matter is, being a caregiver does place you at risk. Caregivers are actively victimized. This risk holds especially true for caregivers with poor ventilation, leaving a pungent skunk scent to precipitate from your house. I imagine this fear holds true for those in lower socioeconomic environments, where tough economic times drives some criminals to extra bold activity.
Despite all the seemingly looming struggle maintain second amendment rights, some rays of sun have pierced the clouds in the form of state supreme court cases out of Oregon and Rhode Island. The Oregon supreme court found “issuing gun permits to medical marijuana patients would not violate the federal Gun Control Act based on Oregon’s own concealed handgun licensing laws.” After an appeal, the US Supreme court decided not to hear this case, affectingly supporting the Oregon supreme court decision until further notice. Similarly a Rhode Island judge said, “this is a poorly drafted statute, and I don’t think… a defendant ought to be criminally liable for inartful draftsmanship,” further rejecting the prosecutors appeals to continue the case on gun charges alone. While these cases alone don’t constitute enough material to save your ass from 2 mandatory years in jail, the likely result of a conservative judge, they do constitute some jurisprudence supporting your argument in court, should you be caught with dope and a firearm in Michigan.
This article hasn’t even touch the legality of consumption of marijuana and proximity to a weapon, an even stickier situation or CCW’s and Marijuana. Basically, if you don’t want to become Michigan’s next landmark Medical Marijuana case, or have alot of money for good quality defense, be EXTRA careful with your weapons, keep them locked up or at a different location than your medicine. Caregivers, keep your doors locked, and the smell of your crop properly ventilated, Michigan leaders under this Schuttee totalitarian regime DON’T care about your constitutional rights or your need to protect yourself.