Hawaii Denies Gun Permits to Medical Marijuana Patients

By William Stash Jones
Oregon Cannabis Connection


Hawaii is discriminating against cannabis users that own guns. They have openly stated that people registered in their medical cannabis program cannot obtain a permit to legally acquire guns in the island state.

Hawaii issues annual permits to acquire an unlimited number of longarms (rifles and shotguns), while single-use permits are issued to acquire some specific types of handguns. In 2016, 10,793 (52.7%) of the permits issued were for longarms purchases, while 9,695 (47.3%) were handgun permits.

Their data showed that 42 of the 328 denied applications were specifically for the applicants being “medical marijuana patients.” That is 12.8% of the denied permits. Only “mental health issues” had more denials at 69, or 21.0%.

They will, in fact, not allow a registered patient to obtain a permit for a full year after their medical marijuana card expires. The report states, “Former medical marijuana patients can successfully apply one year after the expiration of their medical marijuana approval cards.”

One of the reasons for the doubling of the annual rate of denied applications is a recent change in the federal form that is required by federal authorities. It now specifically mentions state legal marijuana, which it did not before. Tom Angell at Mass Roots reports:

Earlier this year, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) updated Form 4473, which must be completed by people purchasing guns from licensed dealers, to make it clear that even state-legal medical marijuana use is disqualifying.

That form has long asked, “Are you an unlawful user of, or addicted to, marijuana or any depressant, stimulant, narcotic drug, or any other controlled substance?” People answering in the affirmative are denied the right to buy a gun.

Beginning in January, the revised form added a clarification noting that, “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.”

With the form updated, people in states that have continued issuing firearms permits to medical marijuana patients, like Oregon, may be denied going forward. It’s unfair to discriminate against people that were forced to register their marijuana use under the state law. There is also no evidence that cannabis use makes a firearm owner more dangerous. They are deferring to the draconian federal Controlled Substances Act that categorizes cannabis as a schedule I drug.

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William Stash Jones

William "Stash" Jones is a medical marijuana patient and medical cannabis advocate. He focuses on medical cannabis and its benefits, and believes that medical cannabis is the solution to many problems in medicine today.

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