Should legal marijuana users be barred from owning a gun?

Should legal marijuana users be barred from owning a gun? Advocates weigh in. (WKRC)

CINCINNATI (WKRC) - Pot or guns? People who use pot in Ohio might soon have to choose.

That's because it's illegal, under federal law, for people who use medical marijuana to have guns.

It's a choice between your health and your safety, or at least that's what people who pushed to make marijuana legal in Ohio say. They feel the federal law tramples on states' rights.

If you buy a gun from a licensed dealer, you have to fill out paperwork. They're not allowed to sell to people who use pot.

So, even though you might be able to use pot because of a state law, a federal law could make it illegal for you to own a gun.

“Most of these laws are being passed under state laws and then, on the other hand, you have the federal government that is refusing to acknowledge the passage of these laws,” said attorney Hal Arenstein.

Jimmy Gould is with CannAscend. He was instrumental in the push for pot in Ohio.

Medical marijuana sales are scheduled to start in the state this year.

“It deals with inflammation. It deals with sleep. Diet. It certainly deals with pain,” said Gould.

Gould says the federal law unfairly targets people who already own guns or want to buy one.

“I think it's just another attempt by the Department of Justice to, no pun intended, weed out those people who really are committed to being able to use this as an alternative therapy,” said Gould.

Arenstein says there's already been a legal challenge to the gun ban for pot users, but the federal appeals court in California upheld the law.

“In that case, they looked at a fourth circuit case which indicated there was a nexus or connection between marijuana and violence,” said Arenstein.

Both men anticipate more lawsuits as more states start legalizing pot for medical or recreational use.

“Ohio is legal for medical marijuana and they should not single out people who have medical cards from being able to possess a firearm and what they're really saying is make a choice between your safety and your health,” said Gould.

Arenstein says people should be truthful when they fill out paperwork to buy a gun, even if they use pot. He says you're less likely to get charged with a crime.

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