Dear Stoner: Why Can't MMJ Patients Own Guns?

Dear Stoner: Why can’t I own a gun if I’m a medical marijuana patient?
Angel

Dear Angel: Because you’re a criminal. Not in our eyes, of course, but in the eyes of the federal government, which doesn’t recognize marijuana as anything but an illegal drug. When you buy a new gun, you’ve got to fill out a form with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms that asks if you are “an unlawful user of, or addicted to, marijuana or any depressant, stimulant, narcotic drug, or any other controlled substance.” And although your red card makes cannabis use legal at the state level, for Uncle Sam it doesn’t change the fact that you are an “unlawful user” of marijuana. If you answer “no” to that question, you’re committing perjury. And if you answer “yes,” you’re not getting your gun. Sellers can also be fined or jailed if they know they’re selling a gun or ammunition to a pot user. (For what it’s worth, you can legally drink booze while possessing a gun as long as you aren’t drunk.) Colorado law, including laws for concealed carry, says the same thing federal law does. In fact, the only medical-cannabis state to expressly allow patients to keep their firearms is Illinois.

Interestingly, gun owners are not allowed to be around people who are known pot users or growers. The idea was to create sentence-enhancing crimes for armed drug dealers, but it’s having unintended effects on the legal marijuana industry. For example, security guards hired to watch over a medical marijuana dispensary technically can’t be armed. But Colorado officials have said they’ll look the other way when it comes to that and have openly allowed armed-guard services for things like money and pot transfers.

State law enforcement agencies have repeatedly told us they cannot cross-check against the medical marijuana patient registry when doing background checks for firearm purchases; under the Colorado Constitution, they can’t access that information for that. (Only police who have been presented a medical marijuana registry card can call to verify it with the state health department.)

But don’t think for a second that the feds wouldn’t use your gun against you in court if you find yourself there on pot-growing charges. Washington’s Larry Harvey, who had his medical cannabis grow raided by feds last year, was charged with having guns “in furtherance of drug trafficking” — for a turkey-hunting shotgun and a deer-hunting rifle that he kept locked up. He now faces up to life in prison. A federal judge in Nevada nixed proposed changes to that policy earlier this year, so don’t expect it to change anytime soon.

Our advice? Learn bow hunting or kung fu.

 
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21 comments
Monkey
Monkey

Medical marijuana patients can own guns. Buying guns is different from owing guns, just like it's different from being intoxicated while possessing guns.  While it's true the Feds would add charges of gun possession, they would also bust you for the weed, but how often do the feds bust patients? Local police don't charge you for possessing a gun while possessing marijuana. It's legal to possess small amounts of marijuana, and it's legal to possess certain guns. Colorado cops can't add gun possession charges to a weed possession charge because they can't charge you with weed possession. 


Now, if you have more weed than allowed, then they can charge you for that, and add gun charges. But if you're not breaking the law to begin with, they have no way of adding gun possession charges. Local cops enforce Colorado law, that's why they don't bust you for small amounts of weed, or possessing a gun with small amounts of weed.  


P.S. A registry card or a doctors recommendation is not proof you use marijuana, it's simply an authorization to possess marijuana for medicinal reasons. A prescription for Oxycontin doesn't mean you use it either, it means it's not illegal for you to possess a small amount of it.

mike1922
mike1922

Seriously, drunks with guns are not an issue?


dverygrateful
dverygrateful

The reason they did not want mmj patients to have a gun was, In the Beginning were to all grow our own. Which meant we'd possibly have Law enforcement checking regulations. And they do not want to be in homes with guns and drugs. The rest of article is bull crap

holdeninpdx
holdeninpdx

Yes, of all the dangerous drugs out there, marijuana is the most dangerous and casual users shouldn't be allowed their Second Amendment rights to possess guns.  As long as ex-cons and the mentally unstable can freely purchase firearms, that's enough.  Tax the hell out of their pot and treat them differently from gun owners who drink regularly or take Ambien nightly or "managed pain control" meds.


Now that the homosexuals have been recognized as the most special of us all, we need another group of people to pile onto...the potheads are the most logical choice, as some people don't like pot.  Yes, they are in the minority in CO, but even the smallest minority must not be disenfranchised!  So, potheads, you might be able to smoke "legally, but try to get a decent job, many apartments in town or the means to protect yourself.  Unless you have unusual sexual tendencies, in which case you're excused, you are out of luck.


It makes perfect sense...

groundskeeperwilly
groundskeeperwilly

Truthfully muhut, I'd rather be around someone like Cheney then some of you brain dead dolts.

adam_majkowski
adam_majkowski

So people who smoke pot are not allowed to protect themselves? Sounds Legit. Disabled people are the ones who actually need to carry a gun.

groundskeeperwilly
groundskeeperwilly

yea, unfortunately i've hunted with a lot of alkeholics. yet gun ownership is not a problem for the boozer.

Love to hunt, and own firearms. guess it makes me a law breaker. ;-)

thecannabiscorner
thecannabiscorner

This wouldn't even be an issue if cannabis was scheduled correctly or unscheduled like alcohol.  Logically, guns and drugs are a bad mix and Federal law addresses that.  That law should stand but keeping cannabis listed as a schedule 1 drug is just dumb.  We must work to have cannabis rescheduled/unscheduled.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@Monkey "Buying guns is different from owing guns"


Legal Fail! 


The Federal Prohibited Persons wrt to Firearms extends to POSSESSION, not "ownership" nor simply "buying" ... and the Feds consider Ammunition alone to be a "firearm" for the purposes of the law, so possessing a single .22 cartridge/bullet, even without a gun, will get a prohibited person 10 years in the slammer.



xyzabc
xyzabc

@Monkey Where did you get your law degree??  Sears Roebuck Catalog.


You think if you say that enough it will be true...... Keep talkin'.............. 


Jailhouse lawyers

UFAIL
UFAIL

WRONG. WRONG. WRONG.

"Stop being a idiot..... And quoting what you do not know."

dverygrateful
dverygrateful

@holdeninpdx Dude do you know that the second amendment was for when we were colonies and gathering our own force to protect. Stop being a idiot..... And quoting what you do not know.

Monkey
Monkey

@DonkeyHotay


Comprehension fail!


If the DEA or ATF come after you for weed, you have bigger problems than owning a gun. Owning a legal gun and legal amounts of weed at the same time is not illegal in Colorado, and local law enforcement can't charge you with either.


Monkey
Monkey

@xyzabc No degree, just personal experience. Local police have taken weed and a gun from me before, and a judge ordered them to give both back. I don't expect you to know the law, the police and the prosecutor didn't know the law either, but the judge did, and so do I.

holdeninpdx
holdeninpdx

@dverygrateful  Ohhhhh, I get it!  All those old Amendments are out of date!!  I guess that's why the Constitution isn't being studied in schools anymore--really, it's not.  The founding fathers were old dudes from the olden times (not coincidentally, they farmed hemp, though it wasn't sold in dispensaries).  They were sitting around one day, adding things to their document, whilst passing the pipe and decided it would be a good idea, this Second Amendment.  It's probably true of the First, Third, Fourth and so on.

That's why we're so lucky to have Obama as our leader.  His fundamental change ignores silly things like that old Constitution.  Who needs a Constitution, anyway?  We elected Obama to lead us wherever he wants us to go and he's surely not going to let the Constitution get in his wayThat do-nothing Congress isn't going to stop him, either. 

What an idiot I am!!  Starting now, I'll stop thinking that way.  No, I can't wait for Obama to give 12 million illegal aliens amnesty...so they can legally carry handguns, too!

xyzabc
xyzabc

@Monkey Somehow, based on your Westword presence and your eloquent dialog on these fine pages, I should not be surprised with marijuana, guns, police and the court system all being mentioned in your curriculum vitae.


You sir, are indeed a DUMMY of the highest order.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@Monkey ... why do you think that would stop THE FEDS from prosecuting you if they so desired? ... being that GUNS are one of the aggravating circumstance cited in the Cole memo.


Monkey
Monkey

@xyzabc  Don't fee bad, I use my experience to educate ignorant pilots all the time. 

 
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