The Honolulu Police Department won’t take away your gun if you’re a medical marijuana patient. At least, not yet.

The department issued a press release late Tuesday afternoon saying that its reviewing its policy to require medical marijuana patients to surrender their firearms. But it will continue to deny gun permits to medical marijuana patients who apply for new weapons.

The agency has for years denied permits to people with medical marijuana cards, and this year sent 30 letters to people asking them to turn in their firearms. The drug has been legal for medical use in Hawaii since 2000, and dispensaries opened this year.

New HPD Chief Susan Ballard wants to re-evaluate the policy asking medical marijuana patients to surrender their guns.

Anthony Quintano/Civil Beat

The department said that it won’t ask medical marijuana patients to give up their guns while it consults with other government agencies and reviews recent court rulings.

“This is a new area of concern for cities across the country, and we in Honolulu want to develop a policy that’s legally sound and serves our community,” said new Police Chief Susan Ballard in the release. “Formulating the policy will take time, but we want to do it right.”

Carl Bergquist from Drug Policy Forum of Hawaii, an organization that advocates for the legalization of marijuana, said Tuesday he wonders why the agency is going to continue denying gun permits to medical cannabis license holders.

“The denial in the first place doesn’t seem to be based on any particular sound policy reasoning,” Bergquist said.

 

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