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December 4, 2022

For many red-blooded Americans who love this country, it is nearly impossible to believe anything bureaucrats and politicians say. Perhaps such a view is jaded and a bit cynical. But it is obvious to a lot of people that bureaucrats and politicians will say and do whatever is necessary to get what they want. Take gun control and cannabis legalization.

Though you might not know how the two are related, they are. Marijuana remains a Schedule I controlled substance at the federal level. As such, it is illegal for state-legal cannabis users to possess firearms for any reason whatsoever.

To gun control advocates, it is the best of both worlds. State-legal cannabis acts as a natural gun control program by forcing consumers to make a choice. And with millions of people now using cannabis, that should translate to millions fewer gun owners. But wait. Let’s not forget the politics.

Wanting It Both Ways

Florida Agricultural Commissioner Nikki Fried, a well-known Democrat and vocal opponent of Governor Ron DeSantis, has a history of promoting gun control. Part of her 2018 campaign platform was tightening restrictions on Florida gun ownership by way of more in-depth background checks.

Yet here Fried is four years later, suing the federal government because state-legal medical marijuana users can’t own or possess guns. She thinks that’s patently unfair. She wants cannabis users to have legal access to guns like everyone else.

Allies say the Ag Commissioner is just fighting for the constitutional rights of Florida cannabis users. But does she fight for the constitutional gun rights of non-cannabis users? No. She attempts to curtail them. She wants it both ways.

Can We Take the Politics Out of It

Those of us genuinely interested in the medical benefits cannabis brings to the table would like to see things move forward without political influence. We would like to see medical decisions be made on medical grounds rather than political ideologies.

Unfortunately, politicians and bureaucrats are the ones who make the rules. Taking the politics out of the debate seems highly unlikely. After all, when have politicians and bureaucrats ever done anything apolitical?

State Discrepancies Will Continue

As long as politicians continue to play politics with medical cannabis and recreational marijuana, state discrepancies will continue. Beehive Farmacy will remain one of a limited number of licensed medical cannabis dispensaries serving patients in Utah. Meanwhile, thousands of dispensaries and pharmacies will continue operating in Oklahoma.

Colorado lawmakers, having long since left the marijuana debate behind, will continue pushing for legalizing psychedelics. Meanwhile, lawmakers in South Carolina probably won’t work extremely hard to get a medical cannabis bill passed.

Decriminalization or Rescheduling

Perhaps the only thing that brings some semblance of order to the states is federal decriminalization or rescheduling. Decriminalizing marijuana would pretty much free up the states to do whatever they wanted. The likely result would probably be more uniformity, just as there is with alcohol.

Decriminalization would also put Florida’s Fried in a delicate position. Medical cannabis patients in the state would instantly be able to own and possess firearms. But for how long? Would Fried winning her case silence gun control advocates in the Sunshine State? No.

The fact that gun control seems to be an entirely different situation when linked to cannabis consumption is proof positive that both debates are more political than anything else. That’s too bad. Gun ownership is a constitutional issue while cannabis is both a medical and personal freedom issue. They will continue to be dominated by politics for the simple fact that politicians make the rules.

Gyles Hanley

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