The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

National News

February 6, 2014

Guns, medical marijuanacollide in Illinois rules


Caregivers, too, who apply for medical marijuana cards would be required to certify they understand they “may not possess firearms under relevant state and federal laws.” It’s still unclear how any of this would be enforced.

Sandy Champion of Somonauk owns guns and plans to apply for a caregiver card so she can legally obtain marijuana for her husband, Jim, who has multiple sclerosis. She has no plans to use the drug herself.

“I’m not giving anything up until I’m told I have to,” Sandy Champion said. “But if I have to choose between owning a gun and giving Jim his medicine, I’m going to choose giving him his medicine.”

The Illinois Department of Public Health referred questions about the issue to the Illinois State Police.

Monique Bond, a state police spokeswoman, cited the federal Gun Control Act and the state’s Firearm Owners Identification Card Act as the legal basis for the wording in the draft rules.

“We are bound by federal law,” Bond said in an email, adding that the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives interprets marijuana use to include possession and argues that “this means all persons (patients and caregivers) are prohibited” from gun ownership.

ATF spokesman Thomas Ahern confirmed that is the current interpretation. He said federal law allows no exceptions, even if medical use is sanctioned by state law, which ATF spelled out to firearms dealers in a 2011 open letter.

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