COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — A local gun store owner is voicing concerns about the potential legalization of recreational marijuana.
Issue 2, which voters will decide on Nov. 7, would commercialize, regulate and legalize the use of cannabis for adults over 21 in Ohio. Under federal law, gun owners are not permitted to possess or use marijuana, meaning gun owners across the state may have to choose between the two if given the opportunity.
The anti-cannabis mandate has always been the standard when purchasing a gun. Experts say Issue 2’s passage may just make it more prevalent.
Eric Delbert, the owner of LEPD Firearms, Training Facility and Range, said marijuana is always a conversation while selling a gun in his store. He said if he smells marijuana on a person, he will turn them away.
Now with Issue 2 on Ohio’s ballot next week, Delbert said this topic should be in the spotlight.
“It’s not us asking the question, it’s simply on the form. And people have read that. And in these last couple of years with medical marijuana and looked for some guidance on how they should answer that,” Delbert said.
The form Delbert referred to is a mandatory questionnaire from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. The questionnaire asks if you are a user of marijuana, narcotic drugs or any other controlled substance. If a person answers untruthfully and is found in possession of the drug, they could face serious penalties.
“People sometimes unbeknownst to them, by having a medical marijuana card or by utilizing marijuana recreationally in those states, they have now forfeited their right under federal law to own or possess or carry a firearm,” Delbert said.
Justin Breidenbach, an assistant professor at Capital University who specializes in the cannabis industry, said this debate is not new. It has always applied to those in Ohio with medical cards, for instance.
“In terms of the federal gun guidelines that are out there, they’ve kind of got to make that decision of, ‘Do I want to be a marijuana user and possess marijuana?’” Breidenbach said. “Right now, it is kind of a decision for those law-abiding citizens that want to follow the letter of the law.”
He said there are plenty of states that emphasize the Second Amendment and want to legalize marijuana. He said those states have tried ways to manage the issue.
“You do have a lot of individuals in terms of state representatives and state senators who have tried to bring bills to the table that really try to connect this idea of state legalization in the Second Amendment. When it comes to gun ownership federally, there hasn’t been a lot of movement there,” Breidenbach said. “At what point does the federal government jump in and maybe get more aggressive with this? That’s kind of a big question mark right now.”
A Republican strategist told NBC4 on Monday that residual impacts with ballot issues are always a concern, but he doesn’t think there is much to worry about here.