NEW CASTLE, Pa. (WYTV) – Ohio and Pennsylvania begin medical marijuana programs this year but on Thursday, the U.S. Attorney General reversed previous policy, giving federal law enforcement the ability to fight state marijuana operations.
Twenty-nine states have legalized some form of marijuana but now a U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling says the federal ban on gun sales to medical marijuana card holders does not violate the Second Amendment.
Ten thousand Pennsylvanians have signed up to get medical marijuana and Ohio also hopes to start its program later this year. Those people go on a list, which licensed gun dealers check before selling a gun.
The people who want medical weed are learning they can’t get it and still be able to buy a gun.
“The federal statutes say that you can’t buy or possess a firearm if you’re addicted to or using marijuana,” Atty. Matt Mangino said.
Ohio hasn’t started medical marijuana sign-ups yet.
Right now, with Pennsylvania’s medical weed program a little further along, the impact is being seen as people sign up.
“Each one of those persons is going to be on a registry. When they go to buy a weapon, go to buy a firearm, their names are going to come up and they’re going to be ineligible,” Mangino said.
State police do the background checks for gun purchases and concealed carry permits. The agency says it doesn’t keep the information and has no idea who already owns guns.
Pennsylvania Governor Tim Wolf seems in no rush to take them away. He doesn’t believe people should have to choose between getting a gun and medical marijuana.
“Wolf says no intention of directing state police to take firearms that persons already own but this will eliminate people from buying a firearm,” Mangino said.
Another issue with marijuana remaining illegal under federal law is that veterans cannot use their medical benefits to get it.