If Illinois’ medical marijuana pilot program actually makes it to the point of implementation before the end of its four-year existence, those applying for the program will have to choose between legally owning a firearm and using marijuana for medicinal purposes.
That’s right, anyone that is carrying a current Firearms Owner Identification (FOID) card or concealed carry permit will not be able to legally use medical marijuana under the state’s proposed program rules.
Chris Lindsey, legislative analyst for the Marijuana Policy Project, stated that he believes it’s the first time a state agency anywhere in the nation “has pointed to a state law and decided that patients may not be able to possess a firearm.”
Rules proposed by the Illinois Department of Public Health warns gun owners they will be violating state and federal law if they’re approved for said pilot program and refuse to submit their firearms to the proper authorities. The programs proposed regulations say that gun owners who acquire medical marijuana registration cards “may be subject to administrative proceedings by the Illinois State Police if they do not voluntarily surrender” their FOID cards or permits to carry a concealed weapon. The same rules affect anyone applying to be a caregiver through the program.
Brian Hilton of Arlington Heights is one of the people who admits that if he is forced to choose between using marijuana legally and keeping his guns, he’s going to remain armed.
“I would be forced to surrender my gun rights, and that would put my family at great risk,” Hilton declared. “I would rather keep my weapons and stay underground.”
Monique Bond, spokesperson for the state police, made reference to the federal Gun Control Act and the state’s Firearm Owners Identification Card Act as the reasoning for the way the rules committee drafted the proposed regulations.
“We are bound by federal law,” Bond proclaimed, adding that the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives infers marijuana use to consist of possession and disputes that “this means all persons (patients and caregivers) are prohibited” from legally owning firearms.
Representative Lou Lang, champion of the medical marijuana legislation, claims that he’s going to work on having the provision in question removed from the regulations.
“If we were worried about federal guidelines, we wouldn’t have medical marijuana at all,” Representative Lang avowed.