Medical marijuana patients in Honolulu are being forced to choose between their medicine and their guns. Recently, patients were served a threatening notice from Honolulu Police Chief Susan Ballard, who is giving them 30 days to surrender their guns and ammo because they are in violation of state and federal gun-control laws.
The notices were first reported yesterday by Russ Belville of The Marijuana Agenda, whose account was substantiated by Bruce Barcott of Leafly, who reached out to the Honolulu Police Department to verify the claims.
Law enforcers have a right to demand the surrender of the patients' firearms because of the 1968 Gun Control Act, which prohibits anyone from owning a gun if they consume marijuana — regardless of whether they use cannabis medicinally or recreationally. However, that law is rarely enforced. In fact, the standoff in Honolulu is perhaps the first time that police have tried to enforce that law on a large scale since California became the first state to allow medicinal cannabis use in 1996.
If applied to the other 29 states that have legalized medical marijuana, then millions of Americans would lose their Second Amendment rights, according to Michael Hammond of Gun Owners of America (GOA).
"A vast number of people would be felons under the law if it were enforced," Hammond told Civilized in 2016. "If gun laws were enforced, tens of millions, perhaps a hundred million people wouldn’t be able to own a gun."
That hasn't happened yet, but the Honolulu incident could prompt police in other jurisdictions to begin weeding out medical marijuana patients from local gun registries.