Just last week we told you about the gun rights debate in Arkansas that practically outlines a hard truth for medical marijuana users in “the Natural State.”
While Arkansas may now allow medicinal use of marijuana, they are not keen on having users with simultaneous access to firearms. Because their state law on marijuana conflicts with the federal law, Arkansas residents who have a medical marijuana card are seen as unlawful drug users by the federal government.
The Arkansas Department of Health is warning would-be applicants for medical marijuana cards that they can have the card or the ability to buy a gun, but not both.
Apparently, Arkansas is not the only state where this debate has become a hot topic. The argument also seems to be raging in Nevada where 2nd Amendment activists are running into the same problems that their counterparts in Arkansas did.
Nevada law echoes the law in Arkansas and while Nevada’s citizens can legally partake in marijuana use, they cannot also make use of their 2nd Amendment rights.
On question 11e of the federal firearms transaction form, it asks “Are you an unlawful user of, or addicted to, marijuana or any depressant, stimulant, narcotic drug, or any other controlled substance?” A “yes” answer brings denial. The question includes this note in bold letters: “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 if you want to buy, or receive via transfer, a gun in Nevada and you use marijuana, that’s also illegal.
And the penalty for being caught possessing a gun if you use marijuana in Nevada? State law says, “A person who violates the provisions of this subsection is guilty of a category B felony and shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for a minimum term of not less than 1 year and a maximum term of not more than 6 years, and may be further punished by a fine of not more than $5,000.”
As I argued before, the 2nd Amendment is a RIGHT, and cannot be infringed if the citizen is partaking in law abiding behavior.
The problem is that federal law still says that marijauna use is illegal, even if 29 states and the District of Columbia have all passed legislation legalizing the drug.
Does the federal government prosecute federal lawbreakers in states that have legalized use of marijuana? Not really. So why does the federal law exist?
Does the Constitution give the federal government the right to enact federal drug laws in opposition to state law? No.
Some readers have disagreed with my interpretation of the Constitution that I laid out in the Arkansas marijuana article. These readers generally cited the “Supremacy Clause” which says the federal government has the upper hand when federal law conflicts with state law. However, the 10th Amendment is clear – the powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people. Clearly, the Constitution does not relegate drug laws (or alcohol, or tobacco, or any other vice) to the federal government.
So, the Constitution leaves it to the states to make these laws.
Therefore, if Nevada says that marijuana use is lawful (which it does) then they cannot deny citizens who partake their right to carry.
It is unconscionable that a citizen can’t be sent to prison for marijuana use, nor can they be sent to prison for exercising their 2nd Amendment rights. But if they use marijuana and then exercise their 2nd amendment rights (while NOT under the influence) they can be sentenced to 6 years in prison.
It’s simply ridiculous.