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It Begins: Police Chief Gives Medical Cannabis Patients Just 30 Days to Surrender Their Guns

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Medical cannabis patients in Hawaii now must “voluntarily” fork over their guns — and they only have 30 days to do so.

Honolulu Police Chief Susan Ballard mailed a letter to medical cannabis patients, who must register with the state in order to receive their medicine, notifying them of the obligation to turn in their guns (another state registry) — or else.

Of course, Ballard’s ‘else’ — what will actually happen to people on both lists refusing to comply with the ostensively ‘voluntary’ order — wasn’t explained. But the tone of the letter suggests strict and swift … something … for noncompliance:

“If you currently own or have any firearms,” the chief wrote, “you have 30 days upon receipt of this letter to voluntarily surrender your firearms, permit, and ammunition to the Honolulu Police Department (HPD) or otherwise transfer ownership. A medical doctor’s clearance letter is required for any future firearms applications or return of firearms from HPD evidence.”

Hawaii

Horrifying to Second Amendment rights advocates, medical cannabis proponents, and civil liberties defenders, this foray into gun confiscation foments for many suspicions about the U.S. government turning totalitarian and leaving the people defenseless. Hawaii had only opened its first medical cannabis dispensary three months ago — and now many are nervous.

Reason’s Jacob Sullum explains the State’s impetus for action — which, unsurprisingly, reduces to federal cannabis prohibition:

“As authority for disarming medical marijuana users, Ballard cites Section 134-7(a) of Hawaii’s Revised Statutes, which says ‘no person who is a fugitive from justice or is a person prohibited from possessing firearms or ammunition under federal law shall own, possess, or control any firearm or ammunition.’ The relevant federal provision prohibits possession of firearms by anyone who is ‘an unlawful user of or addicted to any controlled substance.’

“Since federal law does not recognize any legitimate reason for consuming cannabis, all use is unlawful use, as the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives makes clear in a boldfaced warning on the form that must be completed by anyone buying a gun from a federally licensed dealer: ‘The use or possession of marijuana remains unlawful under Federal law regardless of whether it has been legalized or decriminalized for medicinal or recreational purposes in the state where you reside.’”

In short, the United States’ War on Drugs yet again collides with citizens’ rights — wrapping decades of horrendously inaccurate propaganda and misinformation in the cloak of law-and-order goodness — using the archaic pretext and stigma of pot prohibition to disarm otherwise law-abiding medical patients.

Clearer evidence this is a nation of states beholden to its federal parent — not states joined in a union beneficial for all and individually capable of self-determination — would be difficult to come by.

Twenty-nine states and the District of Columbia now allow medical treatment with cannabis, despite antiquated federal prohibition; and residents in any one of them are forced to essentially presume the good graces of their state and local governments not to abruptly comply with the national ban on use of the plant.

To wit, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit sided with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives last year over , deciding a person’s medical marijuana patient status exempts them from the constitutional right to own firearms, stating,

“It may be argued that medical marijuana users are less likely to commit violent crimes, as they often suffer from debilitating illnesses, for which marijuana may be an effective palliative. But those hypotheses are not sufficient to overcome Congress’s reasonable conclusion that the use of such drugs raises the risk of irrational or unpredictable behavior with which gun use should not be associated.”

While both prohibition and Ninth Circuit’s ruling apply federally, Honolulu police instead cite state law in the letter as the basis for requesting pot patients’ guns, as Leafly points out, which states,

“Under the provisions of the Hawaii Revised Statutes, Section 134-7(a), you are disqualified from firearms ownership.”

However, Section 134-7(a) does not specifically address medical cannabis patients — rather, is a gross generalization, stating,

“No person who is a fugitive from justice or is a person prohibited from possessing firearms or ammunition under federal law shall own, possess, or control any firearm or ammunition therefor.”

With cannabis placed prominently and ludicrously alongside heroin and other illicit ‘drugs’ as a Schedule I, no medicinal properties, substance — despite synthetic THC, the psychoactive component of pot, having just been re-listed by the DEA to Schedule II — the chances Hawaii’s experiment in actual firearm confiscation is absolutely under national and state-level scrutiny.

Registries of medical pot patients vary by state, with Hawaii’s somewhat unusual in its searchability and thoroughness. Registries of gun owners are also disparate by state, with a few — like Arizona — not requiring firearm purchasers to register, period.

Honolulu residents seeking to own guns while treating themselves with cannabis, in the meantime, will soon be out of luck — while, nationally, gun owners, cannabis patients, and politicians across the spectrum watch vigilantly to see what fate could befall them when seemingly innocuous registries metamorphose into blacklists of bad seeds who must be dealt with.

Honolulu’s medical cannabis patients aren’t the only ones being denied their right to bear arms under the Second Amendment — but Hawaii is the only state with mandatory registration of all guns.


Image: Shutterstock/sangriana.

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Health

Biden to Ban Menthol Cigarettes, Citing Health Impact on Youth and Black People

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The Biden administration is reportedly planning to propose an immediate ban on menthol cigarettes, a product that has long been targeted by anti-smoking advocates and critics who claim that the tobacco industry has aggressively marketed to Black people in the U.S.

On Wednesday, the Washington Post reported that the administration could announce a ban on menthol and other flavored cigarettes as soon as this week.

Roughly 85 percent of Black smokers use such menthol brands as Newport and Kool, according to the Food and Drug Administration. Research has also found that menthol cigarettes are easier to become addicted to and harder to quit than unflavored tobacco products, along with other small cigars popular with young people and African Americans.

Civil rights advocates claim that the decision should be greeted by Black communities and people of color who have been marketed to by what they describe as the predatory tobacco industry.

Black smokers generally smoke far less than white smokers, but suffer a disproportionate amount of deaths due to tobacco-linked diseases like heart attack, stroke, and other causes.

Anti-smoking advocates like Matthew L. Myers, president of Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, also greeted the move to cut out products that appeal to children and young adults.

“Menthol cigarettes are the No. 1 cause of youth smoking in the United States,” he said. “Eliminating menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars used by so many kids will do more in the long run to reduce tobacco-related disease than any action the federal government has ever taken.”

However, groups including the American Civil Liberties Group (ACLU) has opposed the move, citing the likelihood that such an action could lead to criminal penalties arising from the enforcement of a ban hitting communities of color hardest.

In a letter to administration officials, the ACLU and other groups including the Drug Policy Alliance said that while the ban is “no doubt well-intentioned” it would also have “serious racial justice implications.”

“Such a ban will trigger criminal penalties, which will disproportionately impact people of color, as well as prioritize criminalization over public health and harm reduction,” the letter explained. “A ban will also lead to unconstitutional policing and other negative interactions with local law enforcement.”

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Pollution Is Making Human Penises Shrink and Causing a Collapse of Fertility, Scientists Say

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With many still scoffing at the idea of rampant pollution posing a threat to humanity, a new study could drastically change the conversation: the chemicals across our environment could be the cause of shrinking human penises.

According to a new book by Dr. Shanna H. Swan, conditions in the modern world are quickly altering the reproductive development of humans and posing a threat to our future as a species.

The argument is laid out in her new book Count Down: How Our Modern World Is Threatening Sperm Counts, Altering Male and Female Reproductive Development, and Imperiling the Future of the Human Race.

The book discusses how pollution is not only leading to skyrocketing erectile dysfunction rates and fertility decline, but also an expansion in the number of babies born with small penises.

While it may seem like good fodder for jokes, the research could portend a grim future for humanity’s ability to survive.

Swan co-authored a study in 2017 that found sperm counts had precipitously fallen in Western countries by 59 percent between 1973 and 2011. In her latest book, Swan blames chemicals for this crisis in the making.

“Chemicals in our environment and unhealthy lifestyle practices in our modern world are disrupting our hormonal balance, causing various degrees of reproductive havoc,” she wrote in the new book.

“In some parts of the world, the average twentysomething woman today is less fertile than her grandmother was at 35,” she also wrote, noting that men could have only half the sperm count of their grandfathers.

Swan blames the disruption on phthalates, the chemicals used in plastic manufacturing that also have an impact on how the crucial hormone endocrine is produced

However, experts note that the proper implementation of pollution reduction measures could help humanity prevent the collapse of human fertility.

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Health

Visualizing The World’s Deadliest Pandemics By Population Impact

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Humanity has been battling against disease for centuries.

And while most contagious outbreaks have never reached full-blown pandemic status, Visual Capitalist’s Carmen Ang notes that there have been several times throughout history when a disease has caused mass devastation.

Here’s a look at the world’s deadliest pandemics to date, viewed from the lens of the impact they had on the global population at the time.

Editor’s note: The above graphic was created in response to a popular request from users after viewing our popular history of pandemics infographic initially released a year ago.

Death Toll, by Percent of Population

In the mid-1300s, a plague known as the Black Death claimed the lives of roughly 200 million people – more than 50% of the global population at that time.

Here’s how the death toll by population stacks up for other significant pandemics, including COVID-19 so far.

The specific cause of the Black Death is still up for debate. Many experts claim the 14th-century pandemic was caused by a bubonic plague, meaning there was no human-to-human transmission, while others argue it was possibly pneumonic.

Interestingly, the plague still exists today – however, it’s significantly less deadly, thanks to modern antibiotics.

History Repeats, But at Least We Keep Learning

While we clearly haven’t eradicated infection diseases from our lives entirely, we’ve at least come a long way in our understanding of what causes illness in the first place.

In ancient times, people believed gods and spirits caused diseases and widespread destruction. But by the 19th century, a scientist named Louis Pasteur (based on findings by Robert Koch) discovered germ theory – the idea that small organisms caused disease.

What will we discover next, and how will it impact our response to disease in the future?

Like this? Check out the full-length article The History of Pandemics

Republished from ZH with permission.

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