Guns and cannabis: The insidious creep of tyranny

By John Klar

In 2004, Vermont implemented a medical marijuana registry, promising patient confidentialityon its state website. Then, in 2018, Vermont legalized recreational marijuanause and imposed a universal background checkon gun-purchasers.

Here’s the rub: the federal government was not consulted, and the ATF maintainsthat anyone using marijuana will be denied clearance to purchase any gun. This was already the case prior to Vermont’s recreational cannabis legalization — those who were on the state’s marijuana registry were not allowed to buy gunsfrom federally licensed dealers, as the state of Vermont provided the list of registrantssurreptitiously to the federal government. Yet those on the cannabis registry could still purchase guns from neighbors — that is, until the vaulted “universal background check” closed that “loophole” for sick people to defend themselves. All without public discussion, or even awareness.

This is how government steals liberties. The Second Amendmentwas specifically crafted to ensure that government would never intrude itself between the right to defend one’s home and country and the Creator of the universe, who alone can bestow or withdraw “inalienable rights.” There was no discussion in the Vermont Legislature of the elimination of this right for pain-suffering Vermonters whose government promised them confidentiality. There will be no discussion when that unilateral power is employed to eliminatethose with depression, PTSD, or various otherattributes from the list of those eligible (that is, who “hold the right” granted by government) to purchase a weapon. This is the creeping hand of government tyranny, happening already in many states. (Sadly, such policies will discourage veteransand othersfrom seeking treatment.)

Our First Amendment is being similarly suffocated by government — Americans are attacked for displaying Confederate flags, and the government tacitly accedes. We are admonished that attacking citizens for a flag(or MAGA hat) is OK because the First Amendment restricts government, but not private citizens. That is true, but if government does not shield the protected rights of private citizens, has it not become complicit in the elimination of those freedoms? Prohibiting racism in private businesses in the Civil Rights movement was not limited to government action — the Commerce Clause was creatively employed to expand federal power, and for good reason.

If the government stands aside while people are assaulted for MAGA hats, it is failing to enforce laws against assault. If it ignores mobs of radical protesters who block streets or parades, it is failing to keep public order. This is nonfeasance versus malfeasance. And if today the government condones assaults for MAGA hats and Confederate flags (ignoring stare decisis and existing free speech laws that protect even swastikas), then tomorrow, it may step aside for the elimination of other personal symbols, including the American flag itself (already disappearing).

Some people see the American flag as a symbol of liberty, others as one of imperialism or oppression. One group proudly mounts the flag in places of honor; the other burns that same flag in angry public protests. This is free speech.

The left wishes to create an imbalanced constitutionalism. Many seek to expand the power of government in the civil rights arena, including rewriting textbooksand importing black peopleinto white areas in the name of diversity, like bussing for adults. But when the federal government enacted laws that compelled a restaurateur to serve a hamburger to a black customer, it did not compel that server to eliminate his racist thoughts. Naturally, that is impossible.

Vermont is seeking to do exactly that: employ government as vehicle to indoctrinate thought. The problem with this becomes evident when government seeks to indoctrinate people who are not racist into believing they are racist so that they can be liberated from the racism they lacked.  This is patently racist, divisive, and unconstitutional.

Liberals have been chiseling away at our rights for many decades. They have eroded the gun rights of sickly Vermonters, and no one even knows it. They have eliminated the Confederate flag that Lynyrd Skynyrd usedas a symbol of rebellion. That flag is permitted only one meaning now: slaveholder. Soon, the American flag may be permitted only one meaning — the one they impose, the one that calls for its universal removal. Soon, MAGA hats will be joined by other symbols deemed offensive to the P.C. McCarthyites. Like the erosion of gun rights through background checks, those with the levers of stifling power will simply turn a blind eye as Antifa, BLM, and yet unseen antagonists expand their one-sided list of prohibitions.  None of this will be government action, and so (the fatuous argument goes) there is no infringement of anyone’s constitutional rights.

Unchecked, this ends badly. Either we reclaim our constitutional heritage, or we collapse in barbaric anarchy that will make us wish we were instead at the fall of Rome. The prescription is not some new ideology, utopian fantasy, or deconstruction of “the system.” The prescription is to defend the Constitution against the insidious creep of tyranny.

John Klar is an attorney and farmer residing in Brookfield, and pastor of the First Congregational Church of Westfield. Originally published at American Thinker.

Image courtesy of Parros Gun Shop

14 thoughts on “Guns and cannabis: The insidious creep of tyranny

  1. Marijuana is not helpful for PTSD. Evidence suggests that it harms those suffering as well as their loved ones and family members. 
    Marijuana is linked to a 7 fold increase in suicidality and is now the number one drug seen in completed teen suicides in Colorado; (before commercialization of marijuana it was alcohol, now it is pot). Teen suicide is now the number 1 killer of youth in CO. Rising teen suicide is also a grave concern in Vermont..Some folks are wondering: do VT school districts or counties with higher or highest MJ use also have highest suicide? Do Vermonters deserve to know these facts? Marijuana use.. as much as folks would like to believe that it is about peace and love and giggles… is linked to psychosis ( a life destroying illness ), depression, lower education goals. In Amsterdam fully 1/2 of ER psychosis visits are now reportedly linked to marijuana use. A great cost to their health care delivery. In Ireland closing the head shops decreased drug related psych admissions by 20%
    Springfield Hospital, sited in an area plagued by addiction, has recently closed from insolvency. Are these linked? Commercialization of marijuana incentives the industry ( and state government)  to create more addiction….. As we all know, 80% of marijuana product use is consumed by just 20% of users. For this reason industry creates more addictive highly concentrated product  and appeals f to your children and grand children with lovable cartoons and sugary candies… Addiction and commercialization is not about freedom. Addiction is a prison. We do not need another industry of addiction, from which the state in any way benefits, bent on creating more good folks trapped and dependent on pot, all to increase the industry’s bottom line. Commercialization of pot is a terrible idea. Any tax is negated by the stubborn persistence and even increase in the black market which legal states has quite incredibly witnessed. Enabling and empowering an industry of marijuana addiction in Vermont will harm you and yours. .. regardless of your social and economic standing in Vermont. 

    • Information cited in comment is patently incorrect and that info comes from a professional in the field is mystifying, therefore leads one to wonder what else included is also misleading or untrue.

      Springfield Hospital as well as its hospital-owned satellite practices are very much alive and well, except for one casualty that is known to me – Ellsworth Clinic. Epidemic in this area as well as patient population includes dozens of small communities which tangent and overlap the Manchester VT hospital, Rutland Regional, Mt. Ascutney, Valley Regional and Grace Cottage plus Cheshire in Keene NH – none of which which are experiencing the same level of fiscal challenge.

      Opiate epidemic is statewide, regional and nationwide and another example that correlation does not equal causation.

      Tho SMCS is in chapter 11 – this does not equal closure but merely restructuring to adjust and realign to a changing environment – businesses do it every day to stay in business.

  2. Legalization of Marijuana (medical or recreational) is a public health issue, especially to our youth. Check out these recent articles coming out of Massachusetts to better understand the risks:
    CDC links Marijuana to Lung Disease

    Read this related article with the title “38 Patients Now Reported to Have Mysterious Vaping-Related Lung Illness in Mass.” Now it’s come out that most of those cases were marijuana vaping. Even the MA Governor, who is by no means socially conservative, has issued a 4-month BAN on Vaping Sales in Massachusetts. He did this after consulting with physicians on the ground that were seeing a huge uptick in marijuana vaping-related cases.

    Read article from Holden, MA, about 2 Middle School students poisoned by marijuana gummies

    Out of the 351 towns and cities in Massachusetts, over 100 have BANNED the sale of recreational marijuana. About 150 towns and cities passed moratoriums to give them more time to BAN. Lawrence, MA, was the first city in Massachusetts to BAN retail marijuana. Their city council voted unanimously to BAN. The city represents about 90,000 people (90% Hispanic).

    Acton, MA, voted YES in 2016 by a slim margin to allow retail marijuana in a state-wide referendum. However, when given the local opportunity to vote on this issue, 1100 people showed up at the town meeting and 80% voted to BAN!

    There are more marijuana shops in Colorado than Starbucks and McDonald’s combined!

    Over 50% of the sale of marijuana in Colorado is sold as edibles!

    When people understand what is really going on at a local level in Massachusetts, the voters have made themselves very clear that the vast majority DO NOT WANT RETAIL Marijuana!

  3. I’m a supporter of the 2nd Amendment rights, but marijuana is the main causal factor for psychosis. Not everyone who uses marijuana will experience psychosis, but the ones who do cause great harm. We can not predict who will have Cannabis Induced Psychosis and who will not, but with today’s high potency marijuana we are seeing it more and more. So it’s best not to put weapons in the hands of marijuana users. They will already have access to other weapons but anyway we can prevent more violence is the right choice.

  4. Name another Constitutional right denied because of a catch 22 the Leftist’s have promulgated ,the right to free speech, the right to 4 th.,5 th. and so on,no only the second is treated as a second class right and not just only with respect to marijuana.

  5. The author of this op-ed, while listing the very impressive titles he holds of attorney, farmer and pastor , does not claim any expertise in pharmacology and yet seems to suggest that just because the non-medically trained legislature has decided to allow those with conditions they name to access marijuana from a state authorized dispensary supposedly to treat those conditions they feel they need it for, that it makes such treatment medically valid. Not so! But in his thinking, such need and state legalized use, triggers an unalienable right to protect their home by purchasing a firearm to do that.

    The premise here that a person is being denied the right to defend their home because they have a need to treat an illness with an illegal substance is not credible. Marijuana users are being denied this use because the government has acted to ensure public safety and they have valid interest in doing so. The issue here is not the keeping of guns from certain people but is about properly inhibiting the use of a dangerous addicting substance that causes violence. With all the violence happening and the connection to drug use, the government seems to have it right here and recognizes that it is not the gun that kills but the person, in this case the marijuana induced psychotic person, who does.

    Federal law prohibits any person who is an “unlawful user of or addicted to any controlled substance” under the Controlled Substances Act of 1970 (CSA) from “shipping, transporting, receiving or possessing firearms or ammunition.” The CSA has been upheld constitutionally by the United States Supreme Court and the application of the law applies whether the use is illegal or legal under state law, even so-called Medical Marijuana laws. No possession of marijuana is legal. The government if it is to be faulted, can be because it does not adequately enforce the law against those criminals making billions on the backs of youth and others who are addicted.

    There is no recognized valid use of marijuana as a medicine. It is NOT medicine and just because a lawless state says a person is entitled to Medical Marijuana if they have certain conditions such as pain, PTSD, depression or the like, does not make such declarations valid indications for such conditions. With PTSD, for example, a respected Vermont psychiatrist has said that the “simple message for PTSD indication is that not only is there no good evidence that cannabis is helpful for PTSD, there is scientific evidence that cannabis leads to more aggression, more PTSD, and more substance use.” Such an opinion is clearly backed up in the abstract, Legislators are not qualified to determine what illness can be treated with what substance and their actions are clearly legislative malpractice.

    In the final analysis this is not a matter of unalienable rights or Liberty interests. It’s a matter of choice. You wish to own a gun then you need to be responsible. It is not responsible to use a mind-altering drug, one especially that in high potency THC products has been shown in many cases to cause marijuana induced psychosis leading to violence, suicide and other dangerous, irresponsible behavior. It is becoming all too apparent from the news stories and headlines we read that the substance lurking behind many of the mass shootings and other violent acts is marijuana. Just because it cannot be proven beyond doubt that marijuana triggered these actions, it is almost impossible to ignore the relationship.

    So, the choice boils down to whether you wish to get high or whether you wish to own a firearm. You cannot have both. Getting high on illegal substances does not trigger a Liberty interest in using nor does it keep you from losing your liberty if you choose to violate the criminal law. Every day people are imprisoned because they make those bad choices.

    The author concludes that “(Sadly, such policies will discourage veterans and others from seeking treatment.)” Actually, such policies might well save the lives of that veteran or others who will now not delay gaining valid treatment and will avoid self-treatment with illegal substances that keeps them, to their detriment, from seeking out valid and proven treatments in a timely manner.

    • Bob,
      Great points! We need more common sense opinions that call medical or recreational marijuana for what it is….MARIJUANA! In MA, people that carry a medical card are legally allowed to have up to 10 oz on them. I’ve seen articles that state there can be up to 40 joints per ounce. That’s 400 joints allowed on your person at any given time! Today’s marijuana is on average 16% THC compared to 3% in the 70’s. At those current levels, studies have shown it to be just as addictive as heroine and even cocaine.
      Using the gun issue to push legalization is deceptive policy. We need to legalize marijuana so that more people can be stoned and own guns at the same time? Let’s all just be honest. this has always been about money and never about public health. Look at the NBA and China. Whether it’s free speech or public health…they can easily be sacrificed at the altar of the love of money. Some things never change. Call your legislators and encourage them to put public health above the love and influence of money.

  6. Unfortunately, Vermont is one of a few States that exhibit the nation’s future if we ever once again fall under control of the Liberal/Socialists.

  7. “The problem with this becomes evident when government seeks to indoctrinate (sham) people who are not racist into believing they are racist so that they can be liberated from the racism they lacked.”

    Universal shaming, and re-edication camps, for anyone born 1980, and universal brain washing for the young.

  8. Registration where ever it’s done as pertaining to guns/ammo has been the direct consequence of leading to CONFISCATION…..Just ask any despot tyrant or other freedom hater ruler who utilizes it to remain in power..

  9. Guns and Cannabis, just aother bump in the Pot Legilization Process that was “overlooked ”
    or was it ??

    If you smoke pot & have a firearm your a Criminal in the eyes of the Feds, even though VT
    says it’s OK. But Until Pot is taken off the ” Federal Controlled Drugs” list and it should be,
    you could become a criminal, real easy ……

    So “they ” Liberals want to ban guns, but can’t, so they pass red-flag laws, pretty vague
    process !!

    So you grow your own pot legal ” Per Montpelier ” and it’s inept legislators at best. You have
    a tiff with your neighbor, knows you have a firearm calls the police for what ever reason, yup
    your Gone, so are your guns, Feds are called your now a felon, can never own a firearm again
    ” Overlooked “…… maybe not !

    You need to call our three stooges ” Leahy, Sanders, Welch ” and have the federal drug list
    changed ” Decriminalize pot ” ……. but they won’t !!

    There a snake in the grass, and it’s a Liberal Legislator !!

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