Thursday, November 17, 2016

Florida Legalizes "Medicinal Marijuana" But Don't Go There

In the election two weeks ago, Florida voters overwhelmingly approved the constitutional amendment to legalize so-called medical marijuana.  A few people have written about this, and I want to add my voice.  Using your medical marijuana will end your second amendment rights.  Period.  (Hat tip to Gun Free Zone). 

Simply, there appears to be ample legal precedent that states being able to legalize drugs is not a settled matter.  To the Feds, it doesn't matter what your state does: marijuana is a schedule 1 narcotic, and they preempt the state.  If the feds decide not to prosecute most users, no matter how temporarily, that's prosecutorial discretion, not agreeing it's legal.  If you're a going to buy that new gun and fill out a 4473 form, it specifically asks about marijuana use.
To the Federales, any use of marijuana is unlawful.  There is precedent that if you answer 4473 with "yes", your purchase will be denied even in a state that allows recreational use of marijuana.  You may choose to lie here, and like all lies on a form 4473, if that's found out, it's a federal felony, which will bar you from buying guns.  You can argue the semantics that "are you an unlawful user" is present tense, and since you don't currently have a joint in your mouth "no" is the truth.  You can argue that federal drug laws have no legal sway in the states.  Have really deep pockets if you want to try this.  The feds have the Infinite Checkbook (tm) and can outspend anything you have if they want to put you away.  In the first case, they'll argue that "user" means "someone who uses" and doesn't imply a time limit.  In the second, you're bucking about a hundred years of "settled case law".

I voted against the amendment for several reasons, and this was one.  The way our law is written, the marijuana may be obtained by a "caregiver", who doesn't need to be an RN, LPN or any of the recognized medical titles.  The way it was explained to me, a caregiver can apply for medical marijuana for a patient and make that patient into a liar if they answer "no" on a 4473.  Say you have some emergency surgery and require an aide to help you for six weeks or so: that aide could get the marijuana in your name, use it themselves or sell it, and jeopardize your rights.  It has been estimated there will be over 2000 pot shops in Florida soon, turning into a nearly $1.6 Billion/year industry, so someone anticipates lots of business and lots of money being made of it.

The big money behind the passing this amendment was a lawyer named John Morgan (known for his smarmy TV and radio commercials) who seems to have pushed it so he can be the lawyer to go to when someone wants to establish their pot shop.  As I say, lots of money to be made in the business.  This is the second time they've tried to pass it.  I note it's easy to find that the biggest funders for the 2014 campaign were John Morgan and George Soros.  Yeah, that George Soros.

I voted against it for a variety of reasons: I don't like the way Florida handles constitutional amendments, again, for a variety of reasons (nice discussion here).  I don't like the way the amendment was written.  And I don't like that whole "make it legal and tax it" thing.  Why should we want to hand that money over to the state?  Why should pot get a higher rate than any other sales tax?  If it's legal, sell it in the wine aisle in Publix, or in the local liquor store.  The state will make enough money taking down their drug enforcement squads.  Alcohol taxes make no sense to me anyway, but I know that's bucking well over a hundred years of "settled case law".  Consider this:  alcohol created by a chemical reaction in a chemical plant sells by the 55 gallon drum and is exempt from taxes.  Alcohol created by yeast fermenting something (grapes, barley, potatoes, whatever) is taxed.  Same exact chemical; one is taxed, one isn't.   

Do the federal drug laws need fixing?  Absolutely.  As does about 75% of the Code of Federal Regulations.  The haphazard way marijuana is being regulated across the country, where obeying your state's laws still violates federal laws, has got to go.  As it stands today, Federal prosecutors are in the position of being able to bring drug charges against anyone using medical marijuana whenever they feel like it.  Any prosecutor who wants to can charge any American with "three felonies a day" (that should probably be updated to four by now; that book is five years old).  It ends up  being at the discretion of the prosecutor, who may prosecute or not depending on whether the Attorney General is working for the drug cartels (cough, cough, Eric Holder) or just another crime family (Loretta Lynch).

EDITED 11/19/16 at 10:30 AM EST:  The BATFE just released a new version of the form 4473 that specifically addresses this issue.  It adds a sentence in bold font just below the question 11E cited above.  It states:  Warning:  The use or possession of marijuana remains unlawful under Federal law regardless of whether it has been legalized or decriminalized for medicinal or recreational purposes in the state where you reside.  

That's about as clear as they can make it. If you use marijuana, regardless of what your state says, they maintain their laws take precedence and you will be denied the sale.  If you use pot, no guns for you.


  1. Not nitpicking, but alcohol taxes have been an issue since the founding of our country, over two hundred years ago. Remember the Whiskey Rebellion, when our old friend George Washington and federally raised troops attacked citizens who refused to pay taxes on the whiskey they produced?

    One thing about the 4473 - I think it could be argued that, if you are legal in your state re using marijuana, then you can answer that with a "no". If the Feds intended that to mean you are illegal no matter what your state laws are, then the question would have been simply, "Do you use marijuana" etc. I think it may be a matter of the 4473 form not having been changed since a number of state have legalized marijuana, but as the question is written, a user in a legal sate is not using illegally anymore.

    That being said, government bureaucracies - just like U.S. attorneys - laugh and joke that they don't care if they even get a conviction, They are happy just to bankrupt the poor bastard they have decided to destroy.

    1. I guess the BATFE must have agreed with my take on the wording concerning "unlawful user", since they have rolled out the new 4473 specifically addressing that oversight.

      BTW, I agree that using marijuana is normally not a good idea, but having lost a father to cancer at the age of fifty - whose pain (bone cancer) could not be controlled with legally administered narcotics - I would have found some for him to try rather than watch him suffer. He was a straight-laced member of the Greatest Generation, though, and refused to consider it.

      I have no idea whether it actually works to control pain, other than, perhaps, the power of suggestion, but I do know this: there is far too much literature in the medical field indicating there _are_ medicinal benefits to the use of cannabinoids to believe our government's vehement denials of any useful application of the drug at all. It's not like the government has never lied to us before.

      Anyone who believes the FDA and their "research" is welcome to buy some swampland I have available. Do some research of your own: look up diethylstilbestrol (DES), the drug responsible for a 100% incidence of cervical cancer in the daughters of women who took the drug - back when the FDA claimed it was safe. When they back-pedaled and took it off the market, they _still_ allowed cattle ranchers to use it to fatten up their cattle - at doses 50 times the maximum allowable dose for women when it was still on the market, still present in the meat that was sold in butcher shops and supermarkets.

      The FDA also approved the trillion-dollar class of drugs called PPIs - Proton-Pump Inhibitors. Nexium, Protonix, Prilosec, Aciphex, and Prevacid. All excellent drugs for controlling stomach acid in people with GERD (Gastro-Esophageal Reflux Disease), common heartburn, Zollinger-Ellison, etc.

      Now, research indicates all of the PPIs may cause dementia and damages short term memory as well as speech. In fact, one study utilizing rats (a very, very common analog for research of human disease mechanisms) has _proven_ that PPIs actually cause the growth of beta-amyloid plaques in their brains. Beta-amyloid plaques are one of the defining characteristics of Alzheimer's.

      But wait! That's not all! When you stop taking PPIs after having been on them for years, it has been discovered by medical research (and my personal example) that many patients develop rebound acid hypersecretion, where the stomach's parietal cells produce _more_ acid than they didi BEFORE taking PPIs. Recommended dosages of Zantac (the older "next step down" from PPIs) run up to SIX grams daily. That is 40 times the normal, common daily dose of Zantac for acid reflux, but is required in several hypersecretion syndromes like rebound and also Zollinger-Ellison.

      So please, don't thrill me with talk of the FDA's "research". They allow the fast-tracking of trillion dollar meds like PPIs without adequate research, and withhold approval of other drugs tested and released as safe for use in Europe and elsewhere, but not here.

    2. By the way, I forgot to mention - as a nurse at the VA Medical Center in Roseburg, Oregon, I often was tasked with dispensing medications to the vets on our ward. Marinol was used by a number of vets with chronic pain. So, the Feds were willing to allow the use of Marinol in a Federal medical center, but still claim it had no legal use and was ineffective for any condition or disease?

      Does that really sound logical, reasonable to you? If it is truly useless, why would the FDA approve it for use? Why not simply continue to ban it and _not_ make it available to the veterans in the Federal medical system? Because it is OK for veterans, but not for civilians? Anyone reading this a doctor or nurse? Is Marinol used in civilian medicine as well? It's been 43 years since I last worked in a civilian hospital pharmacy, so I don't know the answer to that.

  2. I voted against the medical marijuana measure for several reasons, most of which you pointed out, being:

    1. Dispensaries: These will be focal points for armed robberies, as the Fed Gov does not recognize any legality, and has used forfeiture powers to seize dispensary bank accounts, which means lots and lots of cash on hand. Oh, boy, you thought convenience stores were "Stop and Robs."

    2. Taxes: For a medicine? If it has medical use, then it should be non-taxable, like Advil, Tylenol and other OTC drugs, or like Morphine, Oxicodone and other prescription drugs. By taxing it, people are telling me that even they agree pot ain't a medicine.

    3. Pot and Guns: Yep, you touched it, pot equals no guns, no ammo, no guns for people in the house, no fun at all.

    And then there are the other issues, like what good does pot do? Research shows that CBD is the primary chemical of Marijuana that has pain relief aspects, that helps settle the stomach, that helps regulate eye pressure, that has any medical reason for use at all. THC is what gets you all zoooooomie.

    The Sativa species has lower THC and higher CBD levels. Indica has the opposite. Most of the 'medical' marijuana blends found in 'legal' states are high quality Indica blends, which means lots and lots of THC and very little of the really helpful CBD.

    Then there is the method of taking it. Smoking the crap is the worst method for injesting any of the chemicals that could possibly be helpful, kinda the Pot version of Crack Cocaine. The high hits fast and goes away relatively quickly. And the smoke is much heavier in harmful chemicals than tobacco, so all the anti-tobacco stoners out there are just full of horse-poop. Not to mention all the 2nd hand smoke issues (I have seen videos of toddlers staggering around stoned in a room that is slightly less opaque than a heavy California fog, it is truly horrible, and yes, a 'medical marijuana' user. F'in douchebag.)

    Proper way to receive the chemicals is by injestion. Swallowing. So, cannabis brownies are a good method, except that even they are mostly THC and little CBD, so all you're getting is the buzz and little of the goodness.

    Marinol, a pill, contains CBD, and can be prescribed by a doctor for pain management, for glaucoma, for cancer nausea. No one wants it because it doesn't make them high.

    So, all you jerks in Florida, 'Medical Marijuana' is bull-scat. It is a way for a bunch of people from Government to the dude on the street to make money over a bunch of people wanting to use a bull-scat excuse to get fracked up. Thanks tons.

    And this info has been out there since, oh, the '70s, so the excuse

    1. That's a really good reply. It also got cut short, presumably by the character limit in the reply box. You can add any more thoughts in another comment.

      As a mere blogger, I don't have control over how big that box is. Google does that. Anything that you type that doesn't make it into the comment is in the bit bucket in the sky. Gone gone gone.

    2. So I've never even *seen* pot except on a screen, but everything I've read on the subject (I read a lot of libertarian news sources/blogs, and many of them discuss Marijuana once in a while) makes me want to ask...what supporting evidence do you have for this statement: "...And the smoke is much heavier in harmful chemicals than tobacco..."? I'm the opposite of an expert on the subject, but all the reading I've done has indicated that marijuana is at least as safe, if not safer than, pipe tobacco, and significantly safer than the tobacco in cigarettes. I'm not saying that's true, I'm just interested in learning more, y'know? Because *nerd*. *sheepish expression*

    3. Well, poop. The rant was pretty much over anyways.

      As to the levels of chemicals, check out the FDA's research. Sure, they're the eeevil gubmint, but the research is sound. And the pot smokers always discount it by using the 'waaaa' response, so this kinda makes it more likely.

      If pot was so much more mellow than tobacco, then why do pot smokers always hack like donkeys with lung worms when they smoke? Hmmm. And as someone who has been exposed to second-hand smoke of both: tobacco-surrounded by 3 2pack per day in my house (that's in the house, not what they smoked outside the house); pot (sativa blend, late '70s) from 1 person, and the pot was much harsher on me than the super-duper heavy tobacco exposure.

      I am a nerd also, just been surrounded by jerks all my life. Never ever used any illegal drugs, only got drunk once (1/2 bottle of vodka over an hour, pissed my brothers off because all I did was fall asleep and wake up 8 hours later perfectly fine.)

      Not to sound all conspiracy like, but, well, follow the money. Who is really benefiting from the legalization? It isn't the community, nor the end user (medical marijuana is way expensive and not covered on insurance.) It only benefits the growers and dispensers, and indirectly the Government that preys upon them. Who pushed it in Florida? The growers and future dispensers, with the sheep falling in place.

      Want to see what is really behind medical marijuana from the user's standpoint? Offer them a choice of paying for 'good bud' or free Marinol. They'll go to the pot like the little addicts that they are. That right there tells you all you really need to know about the marijuana situation. Addict. Addiction.

    4. Okay, so my caffeine-addled mind finally figured out what I was gonna finish the uber-rant. Here it is.

      And the info on all of the medical properties of marijuana and the intake methods and their efficacy has been out there since the '70s. And Marinol has been out since the '70s. So the excuse that there hasn't been 'enough' research on pot so we need more research is just false. Information is out there and is constantly being updated. Go to the DEA's webpage and look for info on pot. Sure, DEA, BAD, right? Well, the research is real, and it is true, and has been verified. Unlike pro-pot research, which is about as full of holes as a good colander, and as stiff as cheesecloth.

      And then there's the last and final issue. Who is going to pay for 'medical marijuana'? It isn't going to be the health insurance companies. Oh, no. Medical Pot is some expensive shit. About even or more than what you can get from a street dealer (and about the same strength and medical usefulness, too.) So the user is going to be using money that should go to their kids, their housing, their car, their family, their life. And if they don't make much money, they will do what all good addicts do, and steal to support their habit. I don't see many senior citizens out there doing home invasions for their medicare co-pay. But I do see the same amount of street crime to support medical marijuana users as to support non-medical marijuana users.

    5. Andrew, I've heard a lot of what you're saying about Marinol and the other data on how the mechanisms aren't the result of THC but other chemicals (this is the first time I've heard the term "CBD", though). Likewise, I've heard of bad effects of pot on neurological development which makes it especially bad for teens. The overwhelming whine from the "legalize it NOW" crowd makes it impossible to hear the other facts.

      When George Soros and John Morgan get behind something, I have no illusions that their end goal is anything beyond more money, in case of the ambulance chaser, and more ways to collapse and plunder the US in the case of the old national socialist (NAZI). All of this has the ring of truth to it to my ears.

  3. Along these same lines, up here in Idaho we have state legislation that says I can build, possess and use a sound suppressor for any of my firearms (as long as I do not cross state lines with it), and that Federal Law banning/impeding the same has no force in our State. The state law also puts the onus upon our Attorney General to defend any Idaho citizen prosecuted by the Feds for the above. I have access to a $50K+ CNC machine that I and a friend (his machine) are going to use to build suppressors, stamped Made in Idaho (per the law), and we're going to sell them to Idaho residents only. We'll see how the Feds react to argument in court (or to the AttGen) will be that the Feds don't enforce fed law regarding marijuana in so many states, and allow those state laws to stand uncontested, therefore the same should apply to suppressors covered by Idaho law. Also, our county sheriff was just re-elected, and he (again) ran on a Constitutional platform....after talking with him, he told me he will NOT allow the Feds to arrest me (of course, they don't HAVE to let him know they're coming). But, I am also planning on spending time incarcerated and I'm doings the things needed to ensure my family and property are cared for if/when I'm gone. 8-)

    1. There's a case in Kansas right now that's the same sort of test: state laws saying anything made in state that isn't part of interstate commerce can't be regulated by the Feds. IIRC, the initial trial put the defendant behind bars, but it's a test case and I think everyone expected that.

      Quite possibly the worst ruling in supreme court history is the ('40s?) ruling that a farmer growing wheat for his own use was affecting interstate commerce. It's the greased-Teflon slippery slope that allowed the feds to get into everything. What the court ruled was that if he grew his own wheat, he wasn't buying it, and that affected interstate commerce. That sounds to me like saying you built a suppressor or other firearm in Idaho and intend for it to stay in Idaho, but it affects interstate commerce by not buying it from out of state. I would think that's what the Feds will argue.

      I think that ruling needs to be killed, and I like your argument about them not enforcing marijuana laws, but without Scalia or a few like him, I can't see them reigning in the like that.

      Good luck! Keep us posted.

    2. At least suppressors have a sound (haha) medical basis for use.

      I suffer from severe tinnitus and some hearing loss, and even with the best wearable sound protection, shooting is kinda painful to me as it really ramps up the ringing. Shot one time with reasonable ear protection and a suppressor on a .45 and it didn't bother my ears at all.

      The 'Medical Marijuana' situation is like calling a muzzle brake a suppressor because they're both made of metal and screw on the end of a barrel. Ur, no.

      As to your situation, good luck. Federal regulation wins over state law for purposes of seizing your property over the least little infraction. I would wait until the incoming administration gets suppressors passed, or at least guts the BATFE of its attack dogs. You do not want to fark with the Feds. Ask Al Capone. Or any of the medical marijuana dispensaries that have been shut down by the Feds.

      Worked for a PD in the drug enforcement unit. We got the DEA to do most of our seizures as the Feds have much less restrictions on what they can take. And they only charge a 20% processing fee to the local PD (PD rakes in 80% of final value of property and money seized.)

      Don't let this happen to you.

      Oh, googly-moogly. I done gone all secret-conspiracy sounding now. Stay safe, keep your head down, do good works.

  4. I voted for the Amendment, and this is why:

    1 Yes, pot is bad for you. Since I don't even drink alcohol, I am not one to even consider using it. However, do you know what else is bad for you? Greasy food, sugar, lack of exercise, SCUBA diving, skydiving, riding motorcycles, tobacco, salt and many other things. It isn't anyone else's business but mine if I choose to partake.

    2 Sure the dispensaries are easy targets for robberies. Why? Because the government won't let them have bank accounts. This is an argument for less government intrusion, not more.

    3 This law has its flaws. However, look to the gun control movement for guidance here. What makes them so difficult to fight is that they do not wait for the perfect law, they take what they can get and use that as the starting point for the next law. NFA' 34, GCA '68, 922(o), the Brady law, the AWB, etc.
    Use this as a model. If your goal is rolling back laws, then get rid of them as you can, and stop waiting for the perfect law that will solve all of the government intrusion problems.

    1. Which puts us in the somewhat awkward position of passing laws to nullify laws. Adding laws instead of removing them. The problem with the constitutional amendment way of doing that is that it's harder to undo an amendment than undo legislation. We end up having institutionalized bad law in the one place where it's most difficult to tweak it. In other words, we just passed another "Lawyer's full employment act". Number 93 million and something.

      We're in total agreement on the first point, that's not my problem with the law at all. I couldn't care less what people do to their own body - as long as (1) they don't come demanding my money to fix problems they make for themselves and (2) they don't hurt anyone else. The number of "DWH" (driving while high) cases in Colorado has climbed dramatically since they legalized it; that is, users are hurting people other than themselves. What a surprise! Who would have guessed that - aside from everybody with a pulse?

      Argument, of course, is useless since the law passed overwhelmingly, and I don't intend this to be an argument. Just my point of view.