“Legal” Marijuana May Not Be So Legal After All 

By  Dennis Brislawn

UPDATED 08/31/13

Washington and Colorado recently liberalized certain use of marijuana.  However, the Gun Control Act and other aspects of federal law have not been changed.  What does this mean?

Well, ATF has reportedly directed Federal Firearms Licensees (FFLs) to deny transfers to ANYONE in possession of a medical marijuana card.  Similarly, a recent tax seminar discussed the federal income tax repercussions of a marijuana grow or distribution business… NO DEDUCTIONS for salaries or anything else in support of a criminal enterprise.  So that means that ALL income would be fully taxable with no business deductions of any kind.

Here’s a link that might be of specific interest to gun owners…


Even if this does not affect you personally, it may affect those you know or care about.  Consider this from the ATF website:

The Gun Control Act (GCA) makes it unlawful for certain categories of persons to ship, transport, receive, or possess firearms. 18 USC 922(g). Transfers of firearms to any such prohibited persons are also unlawful. 18 USC 922(d).

These categories include any person… who is an unlawful user of or addicted to any controlled substance…

In prior posts we discussed that the word “possess”  means both actual and constructive possession.  So if your spouse, family member, friend or roommate is an “unlawful user” under federal law YOU may have a serious problem. 

There are additional issues related to the above concerns.  For example, can a gun owner who uses marijuana answer NO on the 4473 which asks if the applicant for a gun purchase is an unlawful user?  If he or she is, and says no, this would be a federal felony with a 5 year prison term… see the problem?

How about these – millions of Americans use prescription controlled substances for emotional and mental issues.  Many veterans with PTSD or other medical disorders have or may be treated as having been “adjudicated” as mentally incapacitated… and therefore banned from possession or transfer of firearms.

Different agendas mean different benefits and risks… and the current administration’s anti-gun owner agenda is extremely troubling in light of the above legal issues.  Gun owners today really are at risk of losing meaningful 2nd Amendment rights if these loopholes in the law are exploited by state or federal governments.

Gun owners need to be more, not less, aware of all the things that affect gun rights.  The 2nd Amendment is not a protection against criminal behavior… and a conviction may cost you your 2nd Amendment rights.

Be warned, stay alert and stay alive.

UPDATE – Recent news is that the Federal government “will not sue to stop” states that have legalized marijuana… but does this mean that the article above is no longer true?  NO.  Until the laws have changed, the fact that the Federal government will not enjoin states, does NOT mean that the laws about use of controlled substances have changed.  This remains a very gray area, so use at your own risk.

About the author 

Dennis Brislawn

Dennis is a partner in Northwest Gun Law Group.

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