The Dallas Morning News reported about the case of Joshua Raines and his battle with epilepsy and PTSD.
Five years of service in the military made Raines develop these conditions. For years, Raines used marijuana illegally to treat these ailments.
Raines, has been eligible for a legal prescription of medical marijuana since 2015, the year when Texas lawmakers enacted the Compassionate Use Program for patients with uncontrolled epilepsy.
However, the veteran and Purple Heat recipient has resisted seeking a prescription, because doing so would have him forfeit his right to buy a firearm.
Raines said, “Why am I going to give up one of my rights because I found an organic plant that some are uncomfortable with?”
The veteran added, “I’m not going to do that. I’m not going to trade my rights like baseball cards.”
Across the country, states have gradually embraced legalizing medical marijuana despite being classified as a Schedule 1 controlled substance. Federal law enforcement has generally let these state actions slide.
For guns, it’s a different story. Under federal law, it’s illegal to buy guns if you use marijuana.
Many Texan gun owners who have conditions that make them eligible to acquire medical marijuana are now thinking twice about getting medical marijuana prescriptions due to the threat of having their gun rights stripped.
Rachel Malone, the Texas director for Gun Owners of America, said “To tell Texans you can’t purchase a firearm if you have a compassionate use card is unconscionable. We should not force people to choose between gun ownership and taking care of themselves.”
Firearms application forms explicitly ask buyers if they’ve ever used “marijuana or any depressant, stimulant, narcotic drug, or any other controlled substance.” It also makes clear that marijuana is still illegal under federal law.
The application has a warning section:
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.
Earlier this year, the state legislature expanded the Compassionate Use Act, thus making marijuana more accessible to Texans. The law Governor Greg Abbott signed Friday, which allows specialty doctors to give out cannabis prescriptions that contain 0.5 percent tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) for certain conditions such as epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, ALS, terminal cancer, autism, incurable neurodegenerative disease and spasticity.
Raines said that he would illegally use marijuana if he had to, because of how effective it has been in treating his seizures.
He finished off by saying that “I fought for the right to bear arms. It’s literally in our Constitution for me to be able to own a gun. For the state of Texas that is the most pro-gun, I think it’s ridiculous I would have to trade one of my rights.”
This demonstrates how connected the drug reform and gun issues are. Gun activists will have to form coalitions with drug reformers and vice versa if they want to expand their supporter base and create long-lasting policies that enhance liberty.
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