View Poll Results: Should those who legally use medicinal marijuana be denied a permit?

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  • Yes, don't let those stoners carry!

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  • No, leave 'em alone!

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Thread: Smoke medical pot, lose your [permit]?

  1. #1
    State Researcher Kevin Jensen's Avatar
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    http://www.kval.com/news/local/69244857.html

    Smoke medical pot, lose your Second Amendment gun rights?


    Story Published: Nov 4, 2009 at 5:10 PM PST

    By BRAD CAIN Associated Press SALEM, Ore. (AP) — The right of Oregonians to use marijuana for medical reasons and also to obtain concealed handgun permits is being challenged by local sheriffs who say federal law prevents those people from packing heat.

    Advocates for the state's medical marijuana law countered Wednesday in the Oregon Court of Appeals that the sheriffs simply don't like the program and are looking for ways to undermine it.

    Both sides now are looking to the courts to say definitively whether there's anything to prevent Oregon from issuing the concealed handgun permits to users of medicinal pot.
    The head of the national marijuana advocacy group NORML said he's not aware of the issue being raised in the 13 other states that allow medicinal use of pot.

    "It's kind of unique to Oregon that a couple of sheriffs there seem to want to defer to federal law when they really ought to be looking at enforcing state laws," Allen St. Pierre, NORML's executive director, said in an interview from Washington, D.C.

    He also noted that the Obama administration in recent weeks has signaled that federal prosecutors will not go after people in those states who use medical marijuana legally.

    "The administration is going to defer to local and state governments on these issues," he said.

    Sheriffs from Washington and Jackson counties say, though, that they want clarification from the court on whether federal gun laws prohibiting illegal drug users from possessing handguns applies to people who have permits to use marijuana for medical reasons.

    Marijuana is still classified as a controlled substance under federal law, they said.

    Lower courts had twice ordered the two sheriffs to give weapons permits to people who had lost them because they are medical marijuana users, and both appealed those rulings.

    Attorney Elmer Dickens, representing Washington County Sheriff Rob Gordon, said the sheriff thinks he's in an untenable position.

    "We don't think it's appropriate for the sheriff to be issuing a license to carry something that the federal government has said they are not even entitled to possess," Dickens said in court arguments.

    A Portland lawyer for the advocates argued in court Wednesday that federal law doesn't trump Oregon's concealed handgun permit law.

    Medical marijuana users who meet all other criteria cannot be deprived of the right to a concealed handgun permit, said Leland Berger, who helped write Oregon's medical marijuana law.

    "What this is about is that the sheriffs don't like the medical marijuana law. Twelve years after it was approved by voters, the sheriffs want to discriminate against patients," he said.

    Steven Schwerdt said he had a concealed handgun permit for six years before the Washington county sheriff's office revoked it when he became a medical marijuana user.

    "I'm no criminal; I'm just a guy who can't physically run away from dangerous situations," said Schwerdt, who uses medical marijuana to relieve the symptoms of severe arthritis and gout.

    Schwerdt got his gun permit back in May 2008 when a lower court judge overruled the sheriff's office on grounds that there was no legitimate reason to deny him one.
    "An armed society is a polite society. Manners are good when one may have to back up his acts with his life." Robert A. Heinlein

  2. #2
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    Well No Matter how you look at it Pots a drug.. I'm not against it, but i do think it would impair someones judgement if the need came to use their handgun or if it was actually an appropriate time to use it. Back in my Highschool days I smoked it and I'll tell yea.. I felt more stupid lol... But I do not think that Just cause you Have a medical marijuana card your rights should be taken away... sooo its a real debatable subject.

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    I have to wonder how much this weighed in Rob Gordon's mind when he denied my application a few years ago, when I was still part of the OMMP...

    Interesting, to say the least. I'll be watching this with interest.

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    I am all for legalizing marijuana and no, I am NOT a stoner. I have tried it but again, it makes me bloody stupid. Thus, I dont.

    It may be a drug but its less potent then alcohol and causes fewer deaths. When the two go hand in hand, alcohol and marijuana, there are negative outcomes. Frankly, there should be no problem because the medical marijuana is legal just like alcohol. Do they take away your gun rights if you drink beer on Fridays? No.

    For the cops I can see where they don't want Gang Bangers to get their hands on both but they wouldn't be able to carry a firearm in the first place.


    So cops, leave the sick alone.

  5. #5
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    I feel that if you are using marajuana you are using it more than if you are going for a drink on a Friday. Marajuan is a drug, legal or not you should not be allowed to carry your firearm while using it. I feel the same goes with perscription drugs such as oxy's vicodin, and any other mind altering drug. They are legal but shouldn't be used while carying a fire arm. As a police officer if you are perscribed any narcotic such as oxy,you are put on light duty and your weapon is taken untill you are off those drugs. Same should go for any one using the substance. It is our responsibility to keep our selves and others safe. If you are using a drug that alters your perception then you realy can't be to safe around a fire arm. If you plan to drink don't you leave your firearm at home? I make that choice! Most the time I chose not to drink because my safety is more important than a drink.



    Just my opinion!

  6. #6
    Campaign Veteran marshaul's Avatar
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    If pot is, in fact, behavior altering, then the line should be drawn at altered behavior.

    If someone smokes pot, carries a gun, and you are none the wiser, then that someone has put lie to "pot alters behavior!".

    On what grounds should they be prohibited from carrying, if altered behavior is not in evidence?

    Alcohol causes "altered behavior", but how many of us here would draw the line instantly upon possession, or even consumption?

    Hell, even our DUI laws rely strongly on evidenced "altered behavior", even though they are reinforced by the pseudo-scientific alcohol testings systems cops have.

    I know people who can smoke pot and function quite normally (I personally know several medical patients here in SF). I would bet money that any of them could escape detection by any cop -- hell, I've seen it happen.

    On what grounds should these people be prohibited from being armed? On the grounds that other people are irresponsible, and demonstrate "altered behavior"?

    On those grounds, guns should already be banned.

    But those grounds are phony. The fact that a gun leads Plaxico Burress to show "altered behavior" shouldn't affect my right to own or carry one.
    Quote Originally Posted by g21sfpistol View Post
    ill draw just as fast or faster than someone with a OC holster.

  7. #7
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    Finally, someone hit the nail on the head.

    I think many people forget about 'physical tolerance' when it comes to things like this. There are many medical users who don't depend on the mental effects of the drug, as much as they depend on the physical effects it has on the body, for their health benefits (i.e. glaucoma or seizures); when I was a part of the OMMP, I was one ofthem. Many of these users have and do use at the same level over time, so that the psychoactive effects of marijuana gradually taper off, eventually having no discernible mental effect when they use it. These people are as clear-headed after smoking as they are before smoking, and I can see no reasonable need for them to be unarmed, as many of them can demonstrably prove that their marijuana use does not alter their behavior or their perceptions. (Believe me, I should know.)

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    Phlip74 wrote:
    I feel that if you are using marajuana you are using it more than if you are going for a drink on a Friday. Marajuan is a drug, legal or not you should not be allowed to carry your firearm while using it. I feel the same goes with perscription drugs such as oxy's vicodin, and any other mind altering drug. They are legal but shouldn't be used while carying a fire arm. As a police officer if you are perscribed any narcotic such as oxy,*you are put on light duty and your weapon is taken untill you are off those drugs. Same should go for any one using the substance. It is our responsibility to keep our selves and others safe. If you are using a drug that alters your perception then you realy can't be to safe around a fire arm. If you plan to drink don't you leave your firearm at home? I make that choice! Most the time I chose not to drink because my safety is more important than a drink.

    *

    Just my opinion!


    I have an issue with some of this. I respect your opinion. but when it comes to the prescription drugs i have to disagree to a point.
    Due to a back injury i had to start taking meds, change jobs, and pretty much change my life in general. I'm now labeled with chronic back pain. It never goes away. Ive tried anything you can think of. From accupuncture, to cauterizing 6 nerve endings in my back. Nothing has helped. As i started going through this. the first thing offered is drugs. I put them off until i really had no choice. I went through vicodan, oxys, methadone, "yes they give this for pain" morphine, and quite a few others. I will admit, when starting something new i leave the gun at home.
    But when it comes to something you take daily, or in my case morphine every 8 hours. You get used to it. There are no feelings, no buzz, head spin, or anything else you can think of. I feel normal. I feel normal enough to have doctors notes, and have spent 5 years now running cranes.
    So where do we draw the line? Should i not be allowed to protect my family because on paper it looks bad?
    I hope this didn't come out sounding bad. I'm really not trying to have an argument. Just want to point out that different things react different with people.

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    spikeypuck wrote:
    I have an issue with some of this. I respect your opinion. but when it comes to the prescription drugs i have to disagree to a point.
    Due to a back injury i had to start taking meds, change jobs, and pretty much change my life in general. I'm now labeled with chronic back pain. It never goes away. Ive tried anything you can think of. From accupuncture, to cauterizing 6 nerve endings in my back. Nothing has helped. As i started going through this. the first thing offered is drugs. I put them off until i really had no choice. I went through vicodan, oxys, methadone, "yes they give this for pain" morphine, and quite a few others. I will admit, when starting something new i leave the gun at home.
    But when it comes to something you take daily, or in my case morphine every 8 hours. You get used to it. There are no feelings, no buzz, head spin, or anything else you can think of. I feel normal. I feel normal enough to have doctors notes, and have spent 5 years now running cranes.
    So where do we draw the line? Should i not be allowed to protect my family because on paper it looks bad?
    I hope this didn't come out sounding bad. I'm really not trying to have an argument. Just want to point out that different things react different with people.
    Spikeypuck, you're almost there. In fact, you could reach out and touch "there" from where you are! Just one more little realisation, I think, and you will be "there".

    This feeling, the "no feelings, no buzz, head spin, or anything else you can think of", the "feeling normal", doesn't just happen with prescription drugs. It happens with marijuana too. And once it does, (I refer to it as "tolerance equilibrium") then marijuana has no discernible mental or psychoactive effect; without massively increasing the dosage (i.e. amount smoked/ingested), they're effectively immune to the "high". And if they're not "high", then they're not "impaired", and if they're not "impaired", then why is this even an issue?

    Oh, right... marijuana's stigma and the fear it generates in the closeminded parts of the population... Carry on... I guess...

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    Im not a complete idiot here. I will let you know a little about my life. Im 36 wife is 37. since high school 3 of my very close friends are still smoking pot. As is my wife, and mother in law that lives in my spare room. shes 60.
    So im a little curious why you say after smoking for so long you can feel no effects? When i get home from work i can tell just by looking at my mother in law that she is ripped.

    My wife is helping me get ready for work this morning. So i even asked her thought on this. you know since she smokes daily... It should be valid.

    So when i say, "what do you think about this, after so long smoking you don't feel anything anymore." Her reply was. "Im going to have to disagree, you will build a tolerance but that just means you smoke more...


    Look, i have no problem with people that smoke pot. But there is a reason that i have not sent my wife to get her concealed carry permit. I would always have to wonder if something happens. And she had been smoking???

  11. #11
    Campaign Veteran marshaul's Avatar
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    Sure, someone who is obviously "ripped" may not be the first person you'd think to encourage to go heeled.

    As for "smoking more", I dare say that's exactly what your mother-in-law does. :P

    That doesn't mean every marijuana smoker automatically gets himself so trashed he can't even get off the couch.

    Like I said, I know some medical patients who easily challenge these anecdotal notions.

    I'm not even sure I agree with TiP's implication that there are no mental effect once tolerance has been built. I'm pretty sure they still get a euphoric feeling, which in some cases is the actual medical benefit they seek.

    However, I've simply seen people make too many snap decisions and successfully complete too many tasks requiring utmost coordination after having used marijuana to really be concerned.

    Maybe they just don't smoke enough to get "psychoactive effects". Maybe, the tolerance is as much a familiarity and adjustment as it is a physiological change, and they simply learn to function at a higher level, without impairment, despite "feeling good" and otherwise obtaining benefits of the substance.

    Maybe every person is different and that's why we should rely on evidenced impairment rather than arbitrary standards. Just maybe.

    Hell, I've been around people who smoked marijuana and then shot guns at things. I've seen some pretty good shooting in the process. And I didn't see any violation of the basic gun safety rules -- judgement obviously doesn't go out the window.

    I don't really care too much if they're "high" or not. As long as judgement and coordination isn't impaired, I'm really unconcerned.

    This isn't alcohol we're talking about, which physiologically impairs nervous function etc. Not all drugs automatically = impaired. Even with alcohol, one beer does not automatically = impaired (although for some individuals it might. :P)

    This is why I argue impaired = impaired, not "OMG there's a 'drug' present!!!".

    You may wonder how I've had all these experiences. Quite simply, I've never judged people one bit. I'm as happy to go shooting with a pot smoker as with an alcohol drinker or teetotaler, or ride in a car with one, or what have you. What concerns me is poor judgement, skill, and coordination.

    I've known sober folks I won't get into a car with, and I've ridden quite comfortably in cars piloted by people under the "influence" of marijuana (people tend to get consume alcohol for the sole purpose of becoming impaired, but I'll also ride in a car with a person who's had a drink with dinner).

    People become impaired when they don't get enough sleep. But we don't tell them to abandon all activity the second they don't sleep 8 hours in a 24 hour period. Why? Because, everyone is different, and the relevant criterion is impairment.

    I won't get into a car with a person who is so sleep deprived as to be obviously impaired, but I also won't question how many hours you've had in the last day.
    Quote Originally Posted by g21sfpistol View Post
    ill draw just as fast or faster than someone with a OC holster.

  12. #12
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    Well if you want to carry I suggest you put the stuff in a brownie and eat it
    to avoid the problem.:P But as medical records are private, I don't see
    how the leo is going to find out about it in the first place.
    Then there is permitless OC'ing.:celebrate No stoner exemption to the second
    amendment. They would have to prove that getting medical treatment is
    a reckless act. I'll take a stoner munching on twinkies, over a drunk any day.

    Is the DMV also revoking drivers licenses? If the state troopers don't care,
    why would the locals. OMG they drive cars also! this needs to stop.
    Would like to see the record on these sheriffs looking the other way when they
    encounter federal law illegal aliens. But if the feds have convicted the gentleman
    as the sheriff claims then he has is right they can't have a gun. But I bet there is
    no case record because he is making it up. At best he is claiming the feds
    allege that they are ineligible.
    Would be very interesting if a self defense case, say in New Orleans, were
    to happen, what would the courts do?

    But if the feds would just give the good stuff they grow to these people, not
    only wouldn't they be able to carry, they wouldn't be able to move or care.
    (or so i'm told) need a wink; wink; icon here.

    So do you carry the pot in a locked container out of direct access, and matches
    kept in seperate location?

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    Yep, just an opinion. I realize ther are some out there that get used to the affects but there are also the ones that don't. I think we just need to use our best judgements. I myself choose not to carry if I plan on even only drinking one drink, I know im not buzzed but if I do have to draw and kill some one and the report shows I was drinking it will be used in a court of law. The jury doesnt know how much I can handle, they only see that i was drinking!

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    I know that there are an aweful lot of combat veterans in Oregon that smoke marijuana for PTSD, rather than taking all those unhealthy anxiety/depression pills that they feed you at VA. And a lot of those same men have their CCL as well. Id rather somebody smoke marijuana and carry, than for someone to take Xanax and carry any day of the week.



    My .02 cents.

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    Dragox wrote:
    I know that there are an aweful lot of combat veterans in Oregon that smoke marijuana for PTSD, rather than taking all those unhealthy anxiety/depression pills that they feed you at VA. And a lot of those same men have their CCL as well. Id rather somebody smoke marijuana and carry, than for someone to take Xanax and carry any day of the week.

    *

    My .02 cents.*
    Good call on that.
    Quote Originally Posted by g21sfpistol View Post
    ill draw just as fast or faster than someone with a OC holster.

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    I wonder whether they got their CHL first, or their OMMP card first... by the way, is PTSD a qualifying condition for the OMMP now?

    Either way, I'd be interested to see which of the permits came first, CHL or OMMP... 'cause I'm reasonably sure that their applications for a CHL would be denied because they possessed an OMMP (like mine was), or perhaps on the basis of having PTSD (the Sheriff would assume that that would mean they'd be at increased risk to "freak out" and start shooting some place up)... either way, I think they'd have to have obtained their CHLs before getting an OMMP card.

    Oh yeah, and Rob Gordon sucks!


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    Phlip74 wrote:
    I feel that if you are using marajuana you are using it more than if you are going for a drink on a Friday. Marajuan is a drug, legal or not you should not be allowed to carry your firearm while using it. I feel the same goes with perscription drugs such as oxy's vicodin, and any other mind altering drug. They are legal but shouldn't be used while carying a fire arm. As a police officer if you are perscribed any narcotic such as oxy,you are put on light duty and your weapon is taken untill you are off those drugs. Same should go for any one using the substance. It is our responsibility to keep our selves and others safe. If you are using a drug that alters your perception then you realy can't be to safe around a fire arm. If you plan to drink don't you leave your firearm at home? I make that choice! Most the time I chose not to drink because my safety is more important than a drink.



    Just my opinion!
    So in your opinion, I should not be able to own or carry any firearms, how about driving a vehicle, What about flying an airplane? Even snowboarding competitively, how about snowmobiling on a 900CC fuel-injected 157 HP mountain sled? Maybe I should mention operating front-end loaders too.

    Because I do it all with no impairment from the medications I use daily, and I have been legally ingesting narcotic pain medications for well over a decade. I will put my mental and physical skills up against anyone of similar stature and age with no history of usage..and they stand a good chance of losing that competition.

    Not everyone is affected the same way with the same drugs, I use Morphine, about 270 MG's daily (give or take a little dependingon how rough I am feeling)
    Why should someone with a legally prescribed treatment forphysical ailments not be able to defend themselves?
    Pain can be a more of a mentallydebilitating factor than any side-effects of opiate medications. I cannot comment on the effects of THC, because I do not use it. Nor do I consume any alcohol.

    From my research, medical marijuana has way more benefits that it does debilitating side effects for people suffering from ailments that marijuana is a suitable treatment. Do I think it should be legalized for the general public? I do not know, because I do not know. But for medical purposes I am all for the legalization of a drug that helps people though painfully debating illnesses
    LSD is getting a 2nd look by the medical community now too, they have found it is an excellent cure for cluster headaches. and a newer concoction of Bromo-LSD treats the malady with no visual altering characteristics or physically altering side effects. I have never used LSD, or "Shrooms" either, but if they can help people, I see no reason to ban them for medical use.

  18. #18
    Campaign Veteran marshaul's Avatar
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    Well, I for one am comfortable with your being armed so long as you personally feel confident in your ability be in public without demonstrating "impairment".

    Obviously you do, ergo...
    Quote Originally Posted by g21sfpistol View Post
    ill draw just as fast or faster than someone with a OC holster.

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    I don't understand how the Sheriff would find out who has a OMMP permit. The names of permit holders are protected under federal HIPAA laws. Medical privacy on the federal level bars LEO from looking at a persons OMMP status unless there is an issue revolving around OMMP, i.e. getting pulled over with cannabis in the vehicle and no card in possession.

    Cross referencing the concealed list against OMMP is akin to a fishing expedition and a massive federal HIPAA violation.

    I can think of 4 people off hand that I know have both and there has never been a problem.

    I have seen several cases where, just like 2a violations, LEO arrested and charged OMMP card holders for possession after having the law read to their face by the accused. Cases later dropped by judge.

    Will the Sheriffs then go after narcotic medical prescription holders who use that medication on a daily basis and carry?

    It is perfectly legal to carry in a bar and drink in OR. Will they go after that next? I'd personally much rather be around a stoner with a gun than a drunk with a gun.

    Really when it comes down to it, if you believe in liberty, then this argument is a moot point as the state is trying to control two things the Constitution says they can't. The right to keep and bear arms and the right to control one's own body.

    These licensing programs have been in coexistence for years and how many recorded cases of berserk gun-firing stoners have come out of OR? I've never heard of one. Alcohol and guns though... plenty...

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    No NAU wrote:
    I don't understand how the Sheriff would find out who has a OMMP permit. The names of permit holders are protected under federal HIPAA laws. Medical privacy on the federal level bars LEO from looking at a persons OMMP status unless there is an issue revolving around OMMP, i.e. getting pulled over with cannabis in the vehicle and no card in possession. Or a theoretical issue, like just thinking about pulling someone over who also has an OMMP card.

    Cross referencing the concealed list against OMMP is akin to a fishing expedition and a massive federal HIPAA violation. Hm, that would have been good to know about 7 years ago, when I was originally locking horns with the Sheriff over his denial of my CHL... although it still wouldn't have helped me much, since I didn't (and still don't) have the financial ability to hire a lawyer to help me out with this. Besides, and more to the point, why would you think that 'fishing expeditions' and state-level violations of federal law DON'T happen here in Oregon on a daily (probably even hourly) basis? Plus, add to that the ability of the Sheriff to use the oft-mentioned "willies clause" in the CHL law, and he would just easily explain it away as something else "officially", while secretly having the real reason known only to him. (e.g. my case, seizure disorder was the official reason for denial, ignoring the particulars of my distinct disorder as well as the fact that it was medicated... with marijuana legally per my OMMP card. I suppose it's a matter of debate whice one,the seizure disorder or the OMMP card, was the 'real' reason/excuse for my denial, but that's exactly my point, that it's debatable -- it shouldn't be.)

    I can think of 4 people off hand that I know have both and there has never been a problem. Really? I think they're either quite lucky or perhaps well-connected.

    I have seen several cases where, just like 2a violations, LEO arrested and charged OMMP card holders for possession after having the law read to their face by the accused. Cases later dropped by judge. Typical, disgustingly typical -- but even worse for the accused, who had to spend their time and money showing up to a case in court that should NEVER have even made it that far! My condolances to the would-be "defendants", and my sincere hope is that at least some of them were able to sue the PD and get some compensation for this harassment.

    Will the Sheriffs then go after narcotic medical prescription holders who use that medication on a daily basis and carry? Maybe; I wouldn't doubt it for a moment, given the current political climate both here in Oregon and around the Nation.

    It is perfectly legal to carry in a bar and drink in OR. Will they go after that next? They might, sir, they might. I'd personally much rather be around a stoner with a gun than a drunk with a gun. Glad that you and I can agree.

    Really when it comes down to it, if you believe in liberty, then this argument is a moot point as the state is trying to control two things the Constitution says they can't. The right to keep and bear arms and the right to control one's own body. Glad to see that we agree on something else also.

    These licensing programs have been in coexistence for years and how many recorded cases of berserk gun-firing stoners have come out of OR? I've never heard of one. Alcohol and guns though... plenty... Indeed, you'll never hear me argue that alcohol and guns together is a good idea, since it plainly isn't -- I think this points to the effect of alcohol lowering inhibitions (especially vis-a-vis violence) whereas marijuana, at least for inexperienced users, either leaves inhibitions at their normal level or raises them (experienced users generally don't have any effect to their inhibitions); Edited to Add: Though this is a matter of debate, as I can only speak to my personal experiences. Take them for what they're worth (admittedly, not much).
    My responses are in bold.



    Yours in anger,

    TiP

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    SGT Jensen wrote:
    Sheriffs from Washington and Jackson counties say, though, that they want clarification from the court on whether federal gun laws prohibiting illegal drug users from possessing handguns applies to people who have permits to use marijuana for medical reasons.
    I think the operative phrase here is "illegal drug users." As far as I'm concerned that's the end of the story on a legal level.

    Now on a moral, medicinal-user level, I think discretion needs to be used - the same way that discretion should be used by those who consume alcohol and own firearms.

    My personal rule for myself is to not drink and carry in public...at all. If I'm going to have a drink at a restaurant or whatever I would lock my pistol in my vehicle, though I haven't chosen to do that to date. As others have said, my safety is more important to me than a drink. At home I might have a few drinks and leave my pistol on my hip. That's just how I handle it. If I used medical marijuana I think I would handle it similarly. Impaired judgement is not something to take lightly, I think.

    _________
    PS. Just a fellow PNWerner dropping in and saying hello since you gents are "local." Great article and thread.

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