Hawaii's Weed-and-Gun Blunder Should Be a Wake-up Call to Gun Owners

In November, news broke that medical marijuana cardholders received letters signed by Honolulu Police Chief Susan Ballard, informing them they had 30 days to turn in their firearms. While Hawaiian police may be backpedaling after tremendous public backlash, the whole situation serves as a reminder of the danger of mandatory registries cataloging anything the state might want to later criminalize or regulate. Be it guns, vices, medication or otherwise, it seems state actors find it hard to resist abusing resources predicated on the trust of their citizens.

Hawaii is one of 29 states that have decriminalized and allowed the medical use of marijuana, and the state mandates registration of medical marijuana users. It is also the only state that requires registration of all firearms. This comes as a result of a tortured interplay of federal and state law, calculated to deprive Hawaiians of their fundamental right to defensive arms.

As the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) makes clear in their updated form 4473 used for most firearms transactions, the “use or possession of marijuana remains unlawful under Federal law regardless of whether it has been legalized or decriminalized for medicinal...purposes in the state where you reside.” But it isn’t the federal government demanding the guns of Hawaiians here, it is their own state government, using vague and rarely-enforced federal law designed to target violent drug traffickers to transform an effort to legalize marijuana into a license to strip people of their arms --- a transformation the Hawaiian people didn’t want or vote for.

Hawaii is using the same logic that groups marijuana in with meth, heroin and crack.

Surely few people who supported Hawaii’s legalization of medical marijuana contemplated the state launching a campaign to disarm cardholders. If a desire to disarm anyone who registered for medical marijuana had been clear from the outset, perhaps the Hawaiian people would have been unenthused about the Medical Cannabis Program. It makes no sense for Hawaii to legalize marijuana, departing from federal law, just to turn around and vigorously enforce a tangentially-related federal law that strips different rights away from the people.

Federal law prohibits users of illegal drugs from owning guns for mostly the same reasons it prohibits drugs in the first place. The Ninth Circuit highlighted this last year when they reasoned that marijuana, because it is an illegal drug, is associated with violence and “negative interactions with law enforcement officers.” In states like Hawaii where marijuana is all but legal, though, these justifications don’t make sense.

When Hawaii decided to diverge from the federal prohibition of marijuana, they abandoned the federal government’s reasons for banning marijuana. However, by using federal law to require marijuana patients to turn in their guns, Hawaii is using the same logic that groups marijuana in with meth, heroin and crack. It makes no sense for a state which legalized marijuana --- presumably because they disagreed with the absolute federal prohibition --- to use the same law to disarm marijuana users.

All it would take is a signature.

The most dangerous part of this situation is the fact that these authorities have everything they need to conduct out-and-out confiscation. They know who has medical marijuana cards, and where every legally-held gun is. A developed registry makes invasive, possibly violent confiscation mere inches from implementation at any moment. All it would take is a signature once the state has a detailed list of which doors to kick, as they do here.

We have to remember that firearms are the best mechanism for personal defense, and their ownership is a fundamental Constitutional right. What might be called a “common sense” piece of gun control legislation turns out to be quite dangerous when applied by the state in a manner that defies common sense, as demonstrated here. Luckily, Hawaii is the only state that currently requires the registration of all firearms. Other states limit registration requirements to certain types of weapons, such as “assault weapons” and machine guns.

Events in the recent past highlight the dangers inherent in a registry of gun owners. All too often, these registries are used against lawful gun owners when their guns are most needed. For example, direct-to-door confiscations were ordered by the governor of the Virgin Islands during Hurricane Irma, leaving the islands’ inhabitants defenseless in the face of a natural disaster with little explanation. Widespread confiscation is made easy by mandatory firearms registration, which empowered the Virgin Islands’ confiscation efforts.

A neatly compiled list of guns and their owners is an incredibly powerful tool.

One thing is clear: a neatly compiled list of guns and their owners is an incredibly powerful tool. The question is whether you can trust arbitrary and irrational actors with such tools. Hawaii, California, and other jurisdictions in the Ninth Circuit have done enough to cripple the rights of their people to keep and bear arms. These lawmakers don’t need registries to help them, and they can’t be trusted with them. Hawaiian police should be spending their resources keeping their people safe, not targeting people for trying to legally take a drug commonly associated with giggling and junk food consumption.

MORE FROM YOUNG VOICES

Matthew Larosiere is a Legal Associate at a Washington, D.C. think tank. He holds a J.D. and LL.M in taxation and is pending admission to the Florida Bar. He is a Young Voices Advocate and can be found on Twitter @MattLaAtLaw.

Would Glenn make a better bounty hunter or a Jedi? You'll have to find out in a new episode of the Beltway Banthas Podcast, where Glenn goes deep on Star Wars with host Stephen Kent. In this 45 minute discussion, Stephen and Glenn explore the political themes of the Star Wars franchise, Darth Vader's redemption from Return of the Jedi, Glenn's earliest memories of seeing the films and even debate elements of the latest Star Wars films.

If you enjoy the pop culture and nerdy discussions that Glenn, Pat and Stu get into on the radio show, you'll love this! After you're through, you can also check out Stu Burguiere's appearance on Beltway Banthas to talk Star Wars. You can find that here.


It's never too early to start your Christmas, Hanukah, or Kwanzaa shopping. Or even birthday gift shopping. Especially if that special someone in your life is a Democrat. Because at last count, pretty much all the Democrats are now running for president. And that means there has never been a wider selection of official candidate merchandise to choose from. Whether you're into environmentalism, feminism, classism, socialism, or just plain love, there is a smorgasbord of classy items that you and yours will treasure forever... or at least until the next presidential election.

We have browsed each of the candidates' online stores, so you don't have to (it only took us three months). We have curated only the finest items from each of the Democrats running for president of the United States of America. Without further ado, here is your handy progressive gift guide – or maybe your what-not-to-gift guide.

First, the bargain basement options. Hurry! Time is running out to grab your Beto bandana, or your Delaney pack of golf balls, because at this point Stu has as much of a chance as these guys of getting the nomination.

Tom Steyer, for example – is he still in the race?


https://shop.tomsteyer.com/collections/frontpage/products/tom-2020-pattern-tee


There's way too much Tom here. That shirt's got more Toms than a Caucasian dentists' convention.

For the slightly more moderate Democrat in your life, perhaps they'd like to join the "Yang Gang"…

https://shop.yang2020.com/collections/bumper-stickers/products/yanggang-decal


Andrew Yang is a lock for Math Club president…


https://shop.yang2020.com/collections/apparel/products/math-hat


But for actual president? Well, I wouldn't make plans for how you're going to spend your $1,000-per-month Yang allowance just yet.

If you happen to be shopping for your dog, may I suggest this lovely "Dogs for Delaney" dog collar…


https://store.johndelaney.com/products/dogs-for-delaney-collar


John Delaney's definitely going to secure the canine vote with this kind of outreach. As for any human votes, that's another question entirely.

How 'bout this tastefully understated "Natural Canvas" Michael Bennet tote to remind you he's also still here?...


https://store.michaelbennet.com/michael-bennet-for-america-natural-canvas-tote/


Then again, it's a tote. So, it'll end up on the floor of your closet and you won't have it with you until that one random moment when you're out somewhere and you really need a tote bag. Just like Democrats will really wish they had a moderate when we're in the middle of the socialist nightmare of their creation.

Captain Planet himself, Jay Inslee recently dropped out of the race, but don't let that stop you from picking up what may be the greatest single item sold by anyone in this race…


https://store.jayinslee.com/elvis-the-elves-the-mystery-of-the-melting-snow-by-jay-inslee/


A children's book called Elvis & the Elves: the Mystery of the Melting Snow. Written and illustrated by Governor Jay Inslee. Talk about a whodunnit – how could that snow possibly be melting? Spoiler alert: it's because of evil, white, patriarchal capitalism. And Donald Trump.

Then there's the candidate who thinks you're a moron that can't pronounce his last name: Steve Bullock...


https://shop.stevebullock.com/collections/apparel/products/emoji-t-shirt


Get it? Bull. Lock. Oh, so that's how you say the name that sounds exactly how it's spelled.

There's another candidate who also thinks you need help pronouncing his last name…


https://store.peteforamerica.com/collections/apparel/products/boot-edge-edge-t-shirt


And he is definitely right about that. So, thank you, Pete "Boot Edge Edge." That helps.

Just outside the bargain bin section, but just barely, are candidates like Julian Castro and his "El Presidente" t-shirt…


https://store.julianforthefuture.com/julian-castro-loteria-card-white-tee/


When your last name's Castro, do you really want to go with a weird drawing of yourself as if you're a classic Latin American dictator on a postage stamp?

If you prefer a little "dark psychic forces" battling in your candidates, you'll love Marianne Williamson's "Turn Love Into a Political Force" rally sign…


https://store.marianne2020.com/collections/signs/products/love-rally-sign


"Turn Love Into a Political Force" would be an even better title for a Marianne Williamson album of 80s cover songs. And if you think I'm joking, then you haven't heard Bernie Sanders' classic 1987 folk album, We Shall Overcome. That's not a joke. Well, it is a joke, but it's also a very real thing.

Now, just a quick pause to consider the peculiar baby-wear that way too many candidates are selling…

…including Elizabeth Warren's trans-pride flag onesie. Let me get this straight – we can't force any gender on a child, because that's just cruel. But we can force a political advertisement on a baby? How do we know that baby is actually a Biden or Warren fan? The child may not even be a Democrat or a Socialist at all. That baby might self-identify as a Libertarian, or Republican, or even worse – a moderate Democrat.

Now to the premium items from the premium candidates. Elizabeth Warren – the candidate with the most honesty in her advertising…


https://shop.elizabethwarren.com/collections/apparel/products/impolite-arrogant-women-make-history-unisex-t-shirt

-AND-

https://shop.elizabethwarren.com/collections/drinkware/products/strong-american-unions-mug


Warren's merchandise reflects the woman herself – cold and humorless (watch her "This isn't funny" clip from the last debate here at the 4:27 mark). I'm sure she's really fun once you get to know her. Then again, maybe not.

Speaking of serious women, Kamala Harris wants to be president very badly for you, the people, as you can tell from her "For the People" poster…


https://store.kamalaharris.org/poster-for-the-people/


At $29.99 though, she's sure not charging "people's" prices. Of course, she might be having to pay royalties to a certain someone for riffing on their poster. Just saying.

For the race's number one socialist, there's a whole lot of capitalism going on in Bernie Sanders' campaign. He sells so many delightful items that it's hard to choose. But we did anyway. The most random item is this hundred-dollar, black, "Art of a Political Revolution – Artists for Bernie Sanders Coaches Jacket"…


https://store.berniesanders.com/collections/apparel/products/artists-for-bernie-coaches-jacket


Coaches across the land will be clamoring for this one. You know, since coaches are such a strong Bernie-socialist demographic.

If that's a little over your budget you might consider a "Feel the Bern" fanny pack, to help store all those government freebies you'll get from Bernie…


https://store.berniesanders.com/collections/apparel/products/feel-the-bern-fanny-pack


This is the only context in which you'll ever want to hear "feel the burn" and "fanny" in the same sentence.

And finally, from front-runner Joe Biden, we have this fine "Women's Fitted Biden Polo." Which is just about the best polo description ever…


https://store.joebiden.com/collections/apparel/products/biden-polo-womens-fit


It promises the kind of snug approach that Biden loves to provide women. Even when they don't ask.

This was one of the first homesteads in the area in the 1880's and was just begging to be brought back to its original glory — with a touch of modern. When we first purchased the property, it was full of old stuff without any running water, central heat or AC, so needless to say, we had a huge project ahead of us. It took some vision and a whole lot of trust, but the mess we started with seven years ago is now a place we hope the original owners would be proud of.

To restore something like this is really does take a village. It doesn't take much money to make it cozy inside, if like me you are willing to take time and gather things here and there from thrift shops and little antique shops in the middle of nowhere.

But finding the right craftsman is a different story.

Matt Jensen and his assistant Rob did this entire job from sketches I made. Because he built this in his off hours it took just over a year, but so worth the wait. It wasn't easy as it was 18"out of square. He had to build around that as the entire thing we felt would collapse. Matt just reinforced the structure and we love its imperfections.

Here are a few pictures of the process and the transformation from where we started to where we are now:

​How it was

It doesn't look like much yet, but just you wait and see!

By request a photo tour of the restored cabin. I start doing the interior design in earnest tomorrow after the show, but all of the construction guys are now done. So I mopped the floors, washed the sheets, some friends helped by washing the windows. And now the unofficial / official tour.

The Property

The views are absolutely stunning and completely peaceful.