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Trib editorial: End indefensible 'Schedule I' status to resolve medical marijuana-gun rights conflict

| Thursday, Jan. 4, 2018, 8:55 p.m.

A senseless, outmoded federal policy poses a dilemma for Americans in 29 states that have legalized marijuana, including patients who register for Pennsylvania's legal medical marijuana program — and thereby surrender their Second Amendment rights.

Per The Philadelphia Inquirer, alcoholics and people who've undergone short-term, involuntary mental-health treatment don't lose their constitutional gun rights. But Pennsylvanians legally prescribed marijuana for 17 serious health conditions do — and they even have to dispose of firearms obtained before they registered, say state police administering the patient registry.

That's because the feds still classify marijuana as a “Schedule I” drug that, like heroin and LSD, has “no currently accepted medical use,” which flies in the face of current science, and “a high potential for abuse,” which defines opioids, not marijuana. Alcohol, demonstrably more harmful than marijuana, isn't on Schedule I. So, the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, which regulates gun sales nationwide, says any marijuana use disqualifies any would-be gun buyer — but not alcoholics.

That doesn't violate the Second Amendment, a federal appellate court ruled in 2016. Yet the National Rifle Association is silent. Along with federal marijuana prohibition's needless criminalization of untold numbers of otherwise law-abiding Americans, medical marijuana patients' gun-rights dilemma requires ending marijuana's indefensible Schedule I classification.

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