CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WOWK) – Owning a firearm, is a popular privilege in West Virginia. And making marijuana a legal medicine is popular too, with 80 percent of the legislature approving a medical cannabis law. But guess what, if you do one, you can’t do the other, or you’ll violate federal law.
“In a state like West Virginia where everybody, for the most part, has firearms in their home, you’re going to be able to pick firearms, or you’re going to be able to pick your medical marijuana card, but you can’t pick both,” said Mike Stuart, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of West Virginia.
And that’s because to buy or transfer a firearm you have to fill out a federal application. Question E warns applicants if you are a marijuana user – even in states where it’s legal medicine – you’re disqualified from having a gun. Medical cannabis supportsers are outraged.
“We really know of no other U.S. Attorney that has prioritized an issue like infringing upon the Second Amendment rights of people who are suffering from one of the conditions that can be treated with medical cannabis,” said Del. Mike Pushkin, (D) Kanawha.
But the U.S. Attorney says he must follow what the law says.
“So I am a Second Amendment supporter. You’ll find none stronger in terms of the Second Amendment than I am. But if you are a prohibited person, you’re prohibited from having a firearm or ammunition for that matter,” said Mike Stuart, U.S. Attorney.
Mike Stuart also says it’s also about protecting the public from a bad mix.
“It’s a safety issue ultimately at the end of the day. Anything that changes your comprehension, that changes the way your mind is thinking, the way your mind functions. And you add a firearm to that. It’s very, very dangerous. It’s dangerous for law enforcement,” said Stuart.
But medical cannabis advocates call that a double standard with current laws regarding alcohol.
“I don’t understand why we are going to make medical cannabis patients surrender firearms, but yet you can walk into any liquor store or and drug store across America, and pick up alcohol, on your way to the gun store if you like,” said Rusty Williams, a WV Medical Cannabis Advisory Board member.
One way to fix the problems would be to remove marijuana from the federal schedule one narcotics list.
People have asked, what if you shade the truth and say you are not a medical marijuana user when you actually are. Well, the fine print says the maximum penalty if caught is 10 years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine.