The war between the Federal government and medical marijuana has heated up once again in recent weeks. With second amendment rights being taken away from medical marijuana users, people being evicted from their apartments, and the IRS coming to call, it’s becoming a tough year for individuals and businesses who use and/or sell legal marijuana products in their states.
According to a memo released by the United States Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF): “any person who uses or is addicted to marijuana, regardless of whether his or her state has passed legislation authorizing marijuana use for medicinal purposes, is an unlawful user of or addicted to a controlled substance, and is prohibited by federal law from possessing firearms or ammunition.”
Needless to say a lot of medical marijuana users and gun rights advocates are not too thrilled with this new ruling. The ruling effects everything from protecting your home all the way up to going out and hunting on the weekend. No guns for marijuana users period is the message the Federal government is trying to put out there. A ruling that is in direct violation of the second amendment, but one that the ATF feels is justified since marijuana is still considered an illegal drug by the United States. Marijuana advocates are even looking for a possible new ally in the National Rifle Association due to this ruling. It’s a ruling that could ultimately have an effect on membership levels at the NRA and ultimately a situation to where the NRA could further their agenda of trying to protect second amendment rights.
Medical marijuana users who live in federally subsidized housing and/or apartments can be evicted at any time due to use of an illegal substance. Again since the federal government still has marijuana as an illegal substance, then anything funded or supported by the federal government is under scrutiny. It’s a violation of their lease for individuals who use medical marijuana while living in any housing that is supported by the federal government. Being in violation of that lease can and usually will lead to an eviction under those provisions. While it’s agreeable that one should not be in violation of their lease, it’s not exactly right to evict someone based on their medical needs. A huge disconnect and hypocrisy of a situation to where under any other circumstances an individual would not be allowed to be evicted on use of a prescribed product for medicinal purposes.
The newest federal agency targeting medical marijuana users and dispensaries, is the IRS. According to the IRS, businesses that grow and sell marijuana cannot deduct business expenses such as payroll and rent from their taxes. This move is set to cost large dispensaries millions of dollars if not cause them to shut down completely. Many feel that’s the point entirely from the IRS and federal government. The IRS ruling comes from items in the tax code from the Reagan administration’s ‘war on drugs’ that banned tax deductions in relation to controlled substances. This ruling is sure to be fought in the courts over the course of the next couple of years, but the effects could be devastating to the industry and those who rely on medical marijuana to make it through their day. If these deductions are lost, the consumer cost could go through the roof.
It looks like it’s going to continue to be an uphill battle for the states who have medicinal marijuana laws on their books. The federal government appears unwilling to back down on an issue that many across the country agree is costing our government millions of dollars a year in wasted enforcement, and criminalizing people who otherwise have done nothing wrong. Medical marijuana has shown to help many people all over the world to feel better and get relief from diseases and comfort them when they are in severe pain. While at least 16 states in the US have realized this and have laws on their books for medical marijuana, the federal government has failed to catch up and still feels even these individuals are doing something illegal. A shame for those who truly have come to rely on the benefits associated with the drug.
Medical marijuana reform in Washington is needed and while a few have stood up demanding such, it has been on the back burner. With an issue that effects millions of people however, perhaps it’s time that more in Washington stood up and took a stand for not only those it helps, but for state’s rights as well. After all we are now taking away constitutional rights and punishing otherwise legal businesses because of outdated laws that have been controversial for quite a long time. Until someone stands up; those who rely on the drug for their benefit, will continue to suffer.