New Jersey – -(AmmoLand.com)- The people of New Jersey have spoken, a ballot initiative was voted on making weed a “right”, that is a state constitutional amendment was made, making Marijuana legal in the green Garden State.
Gun owners usually being fans of personal freedoms, should not take issue with this, should they? After all, maximum rights preservation and expansion are principles that many embrace who support the Second Amendment of the US Constitution. Having more rights instilled and solidified in the New Jersey Constitution is a good thing, no?
Regardless of one’s own personal view on the consumption of ole Mary Jane, we as a people, still have a very large elephant in the room to deal with.
The drug is still Federally classified as being illegal?
When I used to hear people from states like Washington and Massachusetts say things like “Well, yeah but it's legal here.” No, no it is not. What you have in those states, and now New Jersey is a state government that is not willing to enforce federal law. An argument can be made that the same states that have “legalized” the use of skunk weed, by ignoring federal law, also ignore federal law in the way of ignoring the enumerated right of the Second Amendment. Many pro-green states also happen to be anti-civil rights.
Remember this fun fact, in a state that has “legal” use of Marijuana, a federal peace officer can still arrest and charge you with the crime of possession.
In my humble opinion, the hurdle is getting the Federal Government to make the necessary changes to the United States law on this subject. All things being fair, look at optics. During the Obama administration, there was a push to not prosecute infractions of the law concerning pot use. In your opinion, how does the United State’s leadership and government appear to other countries, when the executives opt to ignore their own laws? One could argue that states taking these positions are spitting in the face of any chief executive, Obama included when they passed these so-called decriminalization laws. The same spit which the same states spew upon their citizens when they usurp their fundamental rights of self-defense.
Okay but New Jersey still has a choice to make, bang or bong?
This should be commonplace information by now for informed gun owners. If you have a medical marijuana card, and or going forward enjoy the “legal” recreational consumption of weed, you are a prohibited person. The ATF does not care what your state says about your “rights” to get stoned, you cannot use or own firearms if you’re a user of such substances. Whatever your personal view on the subject is, is of zero consequence, this is the way it is!
With the influx of newly minted gun owners in the country and New Jersey, noting record numbers of purchaser’s permits being issued, many of these new gun owners are of the more liberal persuasion. Gun rights activists are not too quick to champion onboard a giant amount of change in voting habits with our more progressive friends, but, these steps are in the right direction none-the-less. It is important to contemplate, however, that the change in the tide of who owns guns, and the “legalization” of Marijuana can provide a small “one-two” punch to both anti-freedom policymakers and in turn the laws they decide to support. I am of the opinion this is going to be settled through litigation, potentially a wheelchair-bound citizen in a state like New Jersey or Massachusetts, that uses medial Marijuana, but also is 100% physically able to defend themselves from an attack should they suffer one.
Could MJ can be key in regaining rights in draconian states like New Jersey?
Back to New Jersey’s constitution…or rather New Jersey. Looking at our history, we have to address the fact that New Jersey, a key battleground during the Revolution, never ratified the 2nd Amendment. Nor in New Jersey’s constitution is the right to bear arms anywhere enumerated. What we do have though, is from article one:
“All persons are by nature free and independent, and have certain natural and unalienable rights, among which are those of enjoying and defending life and liberty, of acquiring, possessing, and protecting property, and of pursuing and obtaining safety and happiness.”
One can interpret that to mean we can protect our property, and the question would be how? We also can defend “life and liberty”, but how? The natural answer to these questions would be with arms, specifically, firearms. The New Jersey Constitution condones the protection of property and life (keep that in mind while thinking about the use of force laws in the state). Is it specifically written that people can do this with firearms, no? But how obtuse can one be when trying to quantify what exactly we’re supposed to defend ourselves with. Further, there are no restrictions specifically citing you can only defend yourself in your home, an important concept to bring up.
That one statement should invalidate the entire weapons law in the state of New Jersey, but it does not.
New Jersey, as we turn another leaf in the pages of history, we can all sleep well at night. Some of us might sleep better than others after a post-toke munchie-session. Now that our constitution has been voted on to allow the people to smoke weed, as a right, sigh out a smoky sigh of relief. However, our 2nd Amendment Freedoms are still kept from us by the man.
John Petrolino is a US Merchant Marine Officer, writer, author of Decoding Firearms: An Easy to Read Guide on General Gun Safety & Use and NRA certified pistol, rifle, and shotgun instructor living under and working to change New Jersey's draconian and unconstitutional gun laws. You can find him on the web at www.johnpetrolino.com on twitter at @johnpetrolino and on instagram @jpetrolinoiii .