Federal Gun laws and Marijuana

May 2007
4,915
2,541
your place
#1
I was doing some internet searches about gun laws and what is allowed in my home state in terms of carrying a handgun in a car. One thing that I noticed was that under Federal law it is always illegal if you are “using” illegal drugs.

Apparently, even if you have not consumed marijuana that day but it is detectable in your system, then you would be in violation of the law if you were carrying an otherwise legal firearm. Since marijuana is traceable in your blood or urine for up to 30 days, then this could be a problem.

Even if marijuana is legal in you state, it is still illegal based on federal law.

Theoretically, you could use a firearm to otherwise legally defend yourself and still potentially be convicted of a serious crime if they decide to test for drug use.

I know the police routinely check your blood if there you are involved in an accident when there is a fatality so my guess is that they could also test you if you shoot and kill a person who decides to rob or attack you while you are in your car.


So if you had a beer or whiskey yesterday, that is OK as long as you are not legally intoxicated. However, if you took a bong hit a week ago, you could be in trouble.

Personally, I would be more worried about gun violence if someone was drunk but the Federal government doesn’t currently see it that way.
 

Ian Jeffrey

Council Hall
Mar 2013
75,753
44,632
Vulcan, down the street from Darth Vader
#3
I was doing some internet searches about gun laws and what is allowed in my home state in terms of carrying a handgun in a car. One thing that I noticed was that under Federal law it is always illegal if you are “using” illegal drugs.

Apparently, even if you have not consumed marijuana that day but it is detectable in your system, then you would be in violation of the law if you were carrying an otherwise legal firearm. Since marijuana is traceable in your blood or urine for up to 30 days, then this could be a problem.

Even if marijuana is legal in you state, it is still illegal based on federal law.

Theoretically, you could use a firearm to otherwise legally defend yourself and still potentially be convicted of a serious crime if they decide to test for drug use.

I know the police routinely check your blood if there you are involved in an accident when there is a fatality so my guess is that they could also test you if you shoot and kill a person who decides to rob or attack you while you are in your car.


So if you had a beer or whiskey yesterday, that is OK as long as you are not legally intoxicated. However, if you took a bong hit a week ago, you could be in trouble.

Personally, I would be more worried about gun violence if someone was drunk but the Federal government doesn’t currently see it that way.
Citations?
 
May 2007
4,915
2,541
your place
#4

Here is a link to a story I hadn’t read yet but just found.

Medical marijuana or guns? Oklahoma latest state forced to choose

Oklahoma became the 30th state to legalize medical marijuana earlier this week, but residents who want to have a medical cannabis card and own a gun may see their hopes go up in smoke.

On Thursday, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) confirmed to ABC affiliate KOCO-TV that the conditions of a 2011 open letter, which states that federal law prohibits anybone who is an "unlawful user of or addicted to any controlled substance" from "possessing firearms or ammunition," still stands. The letter says that anyone who uses marijuana, regardless of state law, qualifies as an "unlawful user of" the controlled substance, and is therefore prohibited from owning a gun.

Federal officials went on to say that possession of a medical marijuana card was reasonable cause to suspect the card owner of being an unlawful marijuana user, even if the person obtained the card legally.

Using a controlled substance is a prohibitor, similar to being convicted of a felony offense," Meredith Davis, a special agent with the ATF, told NBC affiliate KFOR-TV. As the Bureau outlines, felons are prohibited from possessing a firearm.

One loophole that could allow a household to access to both a gun and a medical marijuana card, KFOR-TV reports, is if a spouse required medical marijuana for an illness and the other spouse owned a firearm. According to KFOR-TV, in that instance, the ATF could grant permission for the gun to remain in the household, as long as the spouse with the card had no access to the weapon.
 
Last edited:
May 2007
4,915
2,541
your place
#5
Guns and medical marijuana: You can't have both, despite Amendment 2

Medical marijuana may have been legalized in Missouri, but those who opt to take advantage will be jeopardizing their Second Amendment right to buy and possess a gun.

Under federal law, Missouri residents won't legally be able to have a license for medical marijuana and possess a firearm at the same time, even though voters overwhelmingly added Amendment 2 to the Missouri Constitution on Tuesday.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives wrote a 2011 open letter that explains federal law on guns and marijuana. John Ham, public information officer with the ATF's Kansas City Field Division, said the mandates outlined in the letter still apply.

Anyone who is an "unlawful user of or addicted to" any controlled substance is prohibited from possessing firearms or ammunition, the letter says.
"The actual language is there’s no exception under federal law for medicinal marijuana," Ham told the News-Leader Thursday morning. "That sums up the entire letter."

Having a state-issued license to possess and use medical marijuana would count as reasonable cause to suspect the licensee of being an "unlawful user" under federal law, even if the person with the license obtained it legally, according to the letter.
Ham said that his office has not yet had many calls from Missouri residents asking questions about medical marijuana and gun ownership, but that as Amendment 2 is implemented, he expects to hear more questions.
In the coming weeks, Ham said, the ATF plans to reach out to federal firearms licensees — e.g., gun shops and other dealers — so that they are informed.

"We’ll ensure that we make the federal law clear with them and get questions answered," Ham said.
The issue of gun ownership and marijuana has been a consistent question across the country. Since California voters adopted medical marijuana in 1996, more than 30 states have legalized marijuana in some way, in defiance of federal law.
In 2016, the San Francisco-based U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, often considered a liberal-leaning court, ruled that the federal prohibition on marijuana users possessing guns does not violate the Second Amendment.
The News-Leader reached out to the National Rifle Association for comment but has not yet heard back.
 
Last edited:

Ian Jeffrey

Council Hall
Mar 2013
75,753
44,632
Vulcan, down the street from Darth Vader
#8
Here is the ATF's 2011 letter: https://www.atf.gov/firearms/docs/o...-letter-marijuana-medicinal-purposes/download

Here is a link to the relevant statute cited therein, which links to the Controlled Substances Act: 18 U.S. Code § 922 - Unlawful acts

Here is the 9th Circuit's opinion on the matter, which I believe (I have not read the opinion, just its conclustion) accurately interprets constitutional law on the matter: https://cdn.ca9.uscourts.gov/datastore/opinions/2016/08/31/14-15700.pdf

It would seem your claim in the OP is correct.
 

Similar Discussions