Medical marijuana and guns don't mix if you're looking to buy a new firearm

Coloradans can use marijuana medicinally and purchase firearms -- but due to conflicts between state and federal laws, they can't do both at the same time. As first reported by the Vail Daily and, to buy a new gun in Colorado requires completing a Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms disclosure form. One question on that form is this: "Are you an unlawful user of, or addicted to, marijuana or any depressant, stimulant, narcotic drug, or any other controlled substance?"

While medical marijuana is considered a lawful use under state law, the same can't be said from a federal perspective -- and the ATF is most definitely a federal bureau.

Medical marijuana users who want to buy a gun could try bluffing, since the Colorado Bureau of Investigation, which processes the ATF forms, isn't allowed to compare applicants' responses with the names on the state's MMJ registry. Still, if someone is discovered to have fudged the answers on that form, the bluff could translate to prison time. "Clearly, there's a conflict between state law and federal law on this," CBI spokesman Lance Clem told Face the State.

So what's a medical marijuana patient itching to shoot some elk to do? Hit the classifieds, Face the State suggested, since private firearm deals don't require the same paperwork as sales at gun stores.

More from our Marijuana archive: "Marijuana bust in Denver: Rob Corry asks John Hickenlooper to stop prosecution of Lacy Lee."

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Joel Warner is a former staff writer for Westword and International Business Times. He's also written for WIRED, Men's Journal, Men's Health, Bloomberg Businessweek, Popular Science, Slate, Grantland and many other publications. He's co-author of the 2014 book The Humor Code: A Global Search for What Makes Things Funny, published by Simon & Schuster.
Contact: Joel Warner