The former President of the National Rifle Association, David Keene, who was president until 2013, stated in a recent op-ed, that medical marijuana users should not have to give up their second amendment rights for medical relief and treatment.

“The refusal of the federal government to accede to the judgment of the states on the issue has created problems for tens or even hundreds of thousands of gun owners who are being forced to either trade their Second Amendment rights for a chance to live pain-free or risk prosecution and imprisonment.

The remarks are notable coming from a former top NRA official. Despite its fierce opposition to most restrictions on firearms access, the organization has yet to call for an end to the medical cannabis ban.

“Since gun purchasers must sign a form swearing they are not habitual drug users, a holder of a marijuana prescription cannot both answer the question honestly and buy a firearm today from a gun dealer anywhere in the country,” referring to a federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) document that asks whether gun purchasers use marijuana or other drugs.

Keene is also arguing that the unchanged status of a Schedule I drugs, while being issued for medical purposes, creates a major problem for cannabis users and local governments.

When it comes to legalizing marijuana, Keene isn’t for nor against, saying “there are merits on both sides of the argument.” But, “the same cannot be said about whether doctors should be free to prescribe marijuana for medical purposes,” which he supports allowing.

In the op-ed, Keene cites a recent letter Hawaii police sent asking medical cannabis patients to surrender their firearms and ammunition, calling it a “stark reminder that gun owners with a marijuana prescription are truly at risk.”

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