A reader asked me to explain to people about the laws concerning legalized marijuana and gun ownership. This is an excellent topic because even though the state such as The Compassionate Care Act does not prohibit a patient using medical marijuana from possessing a gun, federal law may make you think twice before you decide to fill that prescription! I pulled invaluable information posted by Angelo Fichera of FactCheck.org, one of several organizations working with Facebook to debunk misinformation shared on social media network.
Since 1968 federal law prohibits marijuana users from purchasing firearms.
Furthermore in 2011 the U.S Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and
Explosives “law “prohibits any person who is an ‘unlawful user of or addicted to any controlled substance from shipping, transporting, receiving or possessing firearms or ammunition.” It also states that it is “unlawful for any person to sell or otherwise dispose of any firearm or ammunition to any person knowing or having reasonable cause to believe that such person is an unlawful user of or addicted to a controlled substance.”
The letter continues: “Therefore, any person who uses or is addicted to marijuana, regardless of whether his or her State has passed legislation authorizing marijuana use for medical purposes, is an unlawful user of or addicted to a controlled substance, and is prohibited by Federal law from possessing firearms or ammunition.”
The federal form, used by gun licensees, such as gun shop owners, asks the buyer if they are an “unlawful user or buyer of marijuana”. Under Federal Law you are considered an “unlawful user”.
Making false written statements on the application is a felony that can be punished with up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000, according to the U.S. Government Accountability Office.
In March 2018 GAO noted, then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions “issued a memo that directed all United States Attorneys to enhance prosecution of cases involving individuals who make false statements on the ATF Form 4473.”
One court challenge to federal law and the ATF’s open letter, filed by a Nevada woman who was refused a firearm because of her medical marijuana registry card, was dismissed by a U.S. District Court. The U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld that ruling in 2016, finding that the policies did not violate her Second Amendment rights.
So in essence it is a choice, Medical Marijuana or Firearms!
For the complete article and sources go to:
Kleiman, Mark. Professor of public policy, NYU Marron Institute of Urban Management. Email to FactCheck.org. 24 Apr 2019.
“Recreational Marijuana in Maine.” Maine State Legislature. Accessed 24 Apr 2019.
U.S. Government Accountability Office. “Few Individuals Denied Firearms Purchases Are Prosecuted and ATF Should Assess Use of Warning Notices in Lieu of Prosecutions.” September 2018.
“Winthrop Man Pleads Guilty to Making False Statements to a Federal Firearms Dealer.” Press release, U.S. Attorney’s Office, District of Maine. 24 Sep 2018.
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