GUNS or Smoke, Not Both

I noted last week that Dr. Khaja Chisty had opened his “Jacksonville 420 Doctor” business a few weeks ago amid much fanfare and mild calumny, but I mostly glossed over details of how all that really worked. Many readers have written, called, catcalled and caterwauled with inquiries about the logistics of obtaining a medical marijuana card for themselves; others offered stories of their widely varied experiences across the state. But there is one common thread linking them all: It’s way easier to get a gun than a weed card.

For example, the intake form for Dr. Chisty’s patients is 11 pages long, a prohibitive amount of paperwork for anyone actually stoned at the time, so that’s one firewall right there. Within those pages are more italics than the GOP tax bill, but way fewer brackets. Page 1 susses out your criminal and reproductive status, leading to a checklist of 38 qualifying conditions on page 2. Pages 3 and 4 (the last ones that are funny) elaborate on the patient’s medical history, including 25 questions related to marijuana use; it’s like El Chapo at a traffic stop.

At no point is the patient asked if they own any guns, because it’s Jacksonville so, of course, they do. This is not the case everywhere. The state of Hawaii, for example, recently made news by requiring their medical marijuana patients to forfeit their right to (legally) bear arms, which pretty much neutralizes their nascent rap industry. Critics have rightly inveighed against this ridiculous plan, noting the seeming hypocrisy of disarming pot-smokers in Hawaii, who in demographic terms are probably the least dangerous human beings walking the Earth today. I mean, gosh, Obama was (definitely) from Hawaii, he smoked the pot prolifically, and aside from Bin Laden, Anwar al-Awlaki and between 117 and 807 civilians written off as collateral damage from his drone strikes, he never killed anyone.

It’s not like Hawaii just waited 38 years to finally crack down on the Choom Gang, so this new rule is being interpreted as just another example of how state and local governments around America have responded to the wave of medical marijuana initiatives that have passed in recent years. That is, with overt and transparent obfuscation that takes all kinds of forms.

We’ve seen it happen in other ways here in Florida, where various councils and commissions have labored to draft arcane rules regulating the new businesses that have the effect of limiting their growth, or just stunting that growth outright, be it through zoning or taxation or just general harassment. (Federal law may nevertheless be problematic, because it prohibits unlawful users of controlled substances from possessing firearms. And marijuana is still illegal on the federal level.)

Of course, Florida is not Hawaii. Our state will never make any attempt to limit anyone’s access to lethal weapons, so take some pride in that.