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n this July 1, 2017 file photo, a cashier rings up a marijuana sale at the Essence cannabis dispensary in Las Vegas. A medical marijuana patient is asking the Nevada Supreme Court to reconsider its refusal to end mandatory state registration and fees for medical pot cards now that marijuana is legal statewide for recreational use. (AP Photo/John Locher, file)

In light of public backlash the Honolulu Police Department is rethinking its attempt to confiscate firearms from medical marijuana cardholders.

On November 29 Breitbart News reported that the HPD had sent letters to about 30 medical marijuana cardholders ordering them to surrender their guns within 30 days. KITV pointed out that the letters informed cardholders to “surrender weapons, permits, and ammunition to HPD or to transfer ownership.”

The Honolulu Star reported that police have been sending letters throughout the year and the one dated November 13 was signed by HPD chief Susan Ballard. It informed cardholders that their “medical marijuana use disqualifies [them] from ownership of firearms and ammunition.”

The Associated Press reports that the HPD is reviewing the policy after it “sparked backlash from residents.”

Although federal law prohibits firearm purchases by persons who use marijuana, Dr. Clifton Otto said the HPD “cannot justify taking firearms away by citing medical marijuana use as a violation of federal law.” He suggested “federal scheduling of marijuana does not apply for medical use in Hawaii.”

However,  on August 31, 2016, Breitbart News reported that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit upheld a ban on gun ownership for medical marijuana users as constitutional. The decision came in light of the fact that marijuana use remains illegal on the federal level, whether state-sanctioned or not. This means medical marijuana cardholders cannot pass background check form 4473 and, therefore, cannot legally purchase a firearm.

Does this also mean cardholders cannot keep firearms that they currently possess? That is the question with which the HPD is grappling.



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