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If you’ve ever filled out a Form 4473, you’re familiar with the Question 11e: “Are you an unlawful user of, or addicted to, marijuana or any depressant, stimulant, narcotic drug, or other controlled substance?” In case you thought there was any ambiguity with regard to medical marijuana, you were wrong. Indeed, there is a warning in bold right underneath the question that clarifies:

“Warning: The use or possession of marijuana remains unlawful under Federal law regardless of whether it has been legalized or decriminalized or for medicinal or recreational purposes in the state where you reside.”

Regardless of what one thinks about marijuana, its legalization or the right of the federal government to regulate either drugs or the internal laws of the various states, the fact remains: As of now, possession, sale and cultivation of marijuana remains a federal offense. It is a Schedule I drug in the same category as heroin and cocaine. You might not like that and you might think such classifications are ridiculous. The federal government doesn’t care.

This is a particularly difficult issue for people who use medicinal marijuana for bona fide medical purposes, rather than as a sort of legal loophole to consume marijuana legally. Many people use medicinal marijuana for a variety of purposes including relief from pain, Alzheimer’s symptoms, glaucoma, epilepsy and a number of complications related to cancer, including nausea and lack of appetite. The science on this is rather conclusive, so much so that Big Pharma makes legal synthetic THC pills known as marinol.

For those who use medical marijuana and wish to protect themselves with firearms, there is a choice: you can keep your guns or you can keep your grass or you can break the law.

What Is the Law Regarding Guns and Marijuana?

In 2011, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms clarified its stance – it is not legal for anyone who uses any illegal substance to own firearms. This includes marijuana, which is legal according to some state laws, illegal according to others, and also illegal under federal law.

The relevant federal law is 18 U.S.C. 922 § (g)(3), which prohibits anyone who uses any controlled substance, as defined by the Controlled Substances Act, from owning firearms. It’s not specific to marijuana. It includes every controlled substance. However, marijuana is worth talking about specifically because of its quasi-legal status, including in a number of relatively gun-friendly states such as Arizona, New Hampshire, Colorado, Michigan, and Nevada.

It’s easy to be cynical about the motivations of the federal government with regard to this topic. However, it is worth briefly noting a couple of facts regarding marijuana with regard to mental health. Marijuana is closely associated with a number of psychiatric disorders, including schizophrenia, but also anxiety, paranoia and even psychosis, though the last of these is quite rare. One might wish to hand-wave this as “reefer madness,” but the correlation if not the causation is well documented.

One might object that those with SSRIs are allowed to legally possess firearms, despite the fact that these have been proven to be dangerous. We don’t disagree that there is a correlation between SSRI use and abuse and gun violence. However, SSRIs being dangerous – or even more dangerous than marijuana – does not make marijuana any less dangerous than it is.

In the interest of balance, we’ll end this section by noting that correlation is not causation. Some have argued that it’s less that marijuana causes schizophrenia than those who have schizophrenia are more likely to use marijuana as a form of symptom relief. We will not attempt to decide which hypothesis is true, but the facts regarding marijuana and mental health bear mentioning.

What Are the Penalties for Ignoring the Law?

We are not encouraging anyone to break the law. And, indeed, the penalties for doing so with regard to firearms are always stiff. Using and possessing marijuana are no exceptions. So what are the penalties for those who simply choose to flout the law and continue using marijuana – legal or otherwise, because remember that the feds don’t recognize the difference – while owning firearms?

First, we should mention that some states, such as Colorado, have prohibited information sharing that would tie your ownership of firearms to your status as a medical marijuana patient. Other states, such as Illinois, have ruled that you can legally own firearms as a medical (or otherwise legal – Illinois is a recreational state) marijuana user. Illinois is not the most gun-friendly state in the Union by a longshot, but it has explicitly said that it will not assist the federal government in stripping otherwise law-abiding citizens of their firearms while also providing them with the same friendly warning that we will throughout this article: that the feds still consider it a crime, so be careful.

But again, the federal law is what is most important for our purposes right now. And the federal appeals courts have upheld bans on medical marijuana users from legally possessing firearms. What’s more, even states that are friendly to medical marijuana have not taken a clear stand on what will happen to people who are stopped in possession of legal firearms and a legal amount of marijuana.

There are two parts of the law here: First, the question of what will happen to you if the feds show up and you have marijuana and a firearm. The second is the question of what will happen if the feds decide to hit you for lying on your form – a lesser, but still serious charge. Neither situation will play out well for you: The federal penalty for being in possession of a firearm, while also in possession of illegal drugs, is ten years in the federal pen. The federal penalty for lying on your Form 4473 is five years in prison.

It’s worth pointing out that if you’re guilty of one, you’re probably guilty of both, so let’s just call that 15 years. And while Jeff Bezos’ left-wing vanity blog The Washington Post has stated that “Your chances of being prosecuted by the Justice Department for falsifying information to illegally buy a gun are almost zero,” no serious person would advise you to lie on your form. This is illegal and a highly risky gambit.

Still, facts are facts and numbers usually don’t lie: The NICS system denied gun purchases 112,000 times in 2017, because they were in forbidden categories. Of these, the ATF investigated 12,700. Of these, a whopping 12 were prosecuted. However, Attorney General William Barr has stated that the feds plan to investigate and prosecute so-called “lie and try” cases with increased vigor, so we might see more prosecutions in the future.

Note that it is not just marijuana users who might fall afoul of federal authorities because of this: literally anyone involved in the cultivation or distribution of medical marijuana is engaged in a federal crime. Thus, they are subject to being penalized in the same way that any other drug user – or drug dealer – might be. Further, all of these laws apply not just to guns, but to ammunition as well.

Again, we cannot state this clearly and unambiguously enough: Purchasing a firearm while using illegal drugs, of which even “medical marijuana” is one, is a federal offense carrying serious penalties, and we obviously urge anyone considering ignoring the law to not do so. The feds are not joking around with people that they prosecute for these crimes.

If you take umbrage at this legal situation, we urge you to contact your state legislators, particularly those who might be on record as sharing your views on the matter. There is a growing movement in America’s state legislatures to protect medical marijuana users who wish to peacefully exercise their Second Amendment rights.

Continue reading Protection or Pain Treatment: Choosing Between Your Gun and Medical Marijuana on The Resistance Library at Ammo.com.
 

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Life is all about making choices.
 

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Great well researched article at MI Open Carry, specifically on the question of having a Medical Marijuana License and a CPL.
https://miopencarry.org/news/2016/12/Michigan-Medical-Marjiuana-And-Firearms

I'll give you a most excellent example, friend of ours, he had brain cancer and depended on the MJ to even be able to eat. She had a CDL and DOT license... she never ever used, but had to be able to buy it for her husband.

This ridiculous war on drugs needs to stop. People shouldn't have to choose personal safety and treatments.
 

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There are a hundred prescription drugs that are legal. So-called "medical" pot is an excuse to get high on drugs. No sympathy from me.
 

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There are a hundred prescription drugs that are legal. So-called "medical" pot is an excuse to get high on drugs. No sympathy from me.
Sorry but you could not me more off base if you tried. But one doesnt know what one doesnt know until educated.
My late wifes palitive care doctor recommended marijuana to boost her appetite. It would react less and have less risk of side effects than the alternative high level anti nausea meds to her chemo treatments.
There are many different reasons , the above just one, that doctors will suggest marijuana. Trust if one is wanting to get high with terminal cancer they dont need something as weak as pot to do it with all of the high level narcotics they have to be given.
She declined choosing instead to force herself to drink three ensure a day and eat whatever she could keep down.

She didnt loose alot of weight, but had she lived longer her weight would have become a major problem.
 

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Well, "medical" MJ is going to remain problematic, so long as laws exist on the books that declare MJ unlawful. In the case of the RKBA, unless and until the U.S. feds get rid of the legal distinctions, it is what it is.

Though, as some have pointed out, the 4473 form is for purchases only, not for acquisition via other means, and not for carrying. Which means there's really only one "lawful" way. Direct purchase from a private seller doesn't technically run afoul of these "laws."
 

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There are a hundred prescription drugs that are legal. So-called "medical" pot is an excuse to get high on drugs. No sympathy from me.

And many are far harder on the body, many times more addictive, and the body may not accept them. The body can also build a tolerance to them, over time, rendering them ineffective, as treatment options.

Several of the medications used to treat epilepsy fall into that group. Know what doesn't have severe side effects, and works long term? CBD, extracted from the cannabis sativa plant. With no high as well. I have a friend whose body has rejected every pill that came along, after a few months on it, and would go back to more than a dozen seizures a day, they a new wonder drug, rinse, lather, repeat.

A strain out of Canada changed her life, just as it did the little girl it's named after. 6 years in, 12 plus a day is now 1 to 2 a Month. Because of a few drops of the oil in her food, 3 times a day.

CBD, not the psychoactive component, THC. No high feeling, as CBD also counteracts THC. Less than 8 percent THC is the federal threshold, on legally calling it a CBD strain. Lower than that, it's legal, and you don't get high.

I envy you Locutus. Same with most who don't live with serious chronic pain or illness. Those who don't wake up with a missing body part screaming that it's still there, via an itch you can never scratch, or pain that feels like either pis and needles, or having just been stabbed, and there is nothing you can do to stop it.

Yes, they make legal drugs to treat both symptoms. If you're lucky, they leave you blurry, with no drive, and constantly on the verge of falling asleep. If your not, add in some of the most intense nightmares you can have, this side of the gates of hell. Google Nuerontin. That's on the mild end of the side effects. Other drugs are even worse, to the point that I just deal with it, and don't sleep.

Opiates work, but they are a ***** to get off of. Especially as a.recovered alcoholic. So drinking isn't on the table either. That's a road I don't want to go back down, for the sake of my family, because I know it hurt them, the last time.

Know what did work, had almost zero negative side effects, and the only addiction to it is mental, not physical? Cannabis, primarily indica, but sativa also works, while keeping you more functional. CBD helps as well, but not to the same level. And I don't enjoy being high, I'm too controlled to enjoy it.

My point is there are a lot of us who tried legal options, and they made things worse. I haven't smoked up in close to a decade, and never have to get baked. But that constant maddening pain, by the end of the third day awake, you'd sell your soul to put an end to it, just so you can sleep. Marijuana can keep a person from getting to that point, and there are several strains of it, that give different effects for the user, other than just being high.

I know several people who have been in Ghost's wife's shoes, that smoking a little OG Kush helped keep them healthy, while they fought to survive. Chemo and radiation don't just kill the cancer, they try to kill the patient. THC increases appetite, and reduces nausea. Medically proven fact. It reduces pain, something I know first hand, and through medical research. CBD also has pain relieving benefits. Without the high. Without the addiction.

If it was federally legal, I would be growing it, from seeds, already, and talking with friends in CA and CO, about how to make hybrid strains, for the effects needed to treat the pain I live in daily. Simply because me armed on it, is far less dangerous that me armed on some of the legal alternatives.

Not bashing you or your opinion brother. Just asking you to set what you think you know aside, and take a deeper look down the rabbit hole, because you are misinformed. Just as I was, 26 years ago, when I ran out of pain meds, during a lake effect snow storm, and it was a.second night of severe pain, or try something different. That choice made me want to research the plant further, even after I stopped using it.
 

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Maybe I don't have experience with cannabis, but I've battled chronic heart failure, gout, diabetes and COPD for almost 30 years now. Don't envy me.
 

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Easy. Dont buy guns where you have to fill out a form.
'Nuff said. Other day I bought a rifle from a guy I met at the parking lot at Dick's Sporting Goods. Glad they're still useful for something.
 

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There are a hundred prescription drugs that are legal. So-called "medical" pot is an excuse to get high on drugs. No sympathy from me.
I think you are a little off-base here. While I agree that probably most people use "medical marijuana" for the high, there are some folks that get good pain relief, without the problems with opioids. I don't have a problem with chronic pain, but if I did I would need an alternative to opioids. I am allergic to opium bases products.

People who need it, need to get it. In what crazy world would morphine be a legal drug but marijuana not?
 

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Yes opioids are horribly addictive and far more unhealthy than marijuana. Long term use of opioids has killed people and over the years doctors have prescribed them like candy. Pot is not a significantly harmful drug like meth or opioids. Yet I really don’t want to see potheads carrying.
 

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Yes opioids are horribly addictive and far more unhealthy than marijuana. Long term use of opioids has killed people and over the years doctors have prescribed them like candy. Pot is not a significantly harmful drug like meth or opioids. Yet I really don’t want to see potheads carrying.
I agree with some of that. But I do not agree that pot is not harmful or highly addictive. The worst thing about pot is that it's a "gateway" drug that gets lotsa young folks started on the road to meth and heroin addiction.
 

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Yes opioids are horribly addictive and far more unhealthy than marijuana. Long term use of opioids has killed people and over the years doctors have prescribed them like candy. Pot is not a significantly harmful drug like meth or opioids. Yet I really don’t want to see potheads carrying.
Potheads already do carry in large numbers. No regulation is going to dent that fact
 

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I agree with some of that. But I do not agree that pot is not harmful or highly addictive. The worst thing about pot is that it's a "gateway" drug that gets lotsa young folks started on the road to meth and heroin addiction.
Pot is not a gateway drug nor is it addicting . Less so than alcohol . Of course the gov tried to stop alcohol and had about as much luck as they have with the " drug war".
I dont use it. Not because I think there is something wrong with it or because the fed says its " bad". I just dont personally like it.

The fed is looking at legalizing it, which they should. Actually they should never have made it illegal .
 

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Not a gateway drug???Non-addictive????

BULL-SCHIDT!!!

I've personally seen it far too often.
 

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Not a gateway drug???Non-addictive????

BULL-SCHIDT!!!

I've personally seen it far too often.
Regardless what you've seen, pot is not addicting, medically proven for years not to be so. And it's not a " gateway " drug.
Millions upon millions of Americans smoke pot daily , some weekly, and never do any other drug.

What you saw was someone who would have done the first thing he had an opportunity to do.

Even if it were all the things you say the gov has no authority to make plants illegal. What a person puts in themselves is their business. If its dangerous and harmful then it's a self correcting problem.

All the gov did was create organized crime in the U.S. with prohibition, a violently criminal black market of millionaires with the " drug war" .

Along with destroying a host of rights guaranteed in the BOR in the process.
 
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