As more patients get certified to use medical marijuana in Florida, it has come to light that their use of this particular drug could prevent them from purchasing a gun if they declared that they use state-legal marijuana. This reality also applies to medical and recreational marijuana users in states where such use is legal.
When someone goes to buy a gun, he or she is required to fill ATF Form 4473. This form captures all the relevant records pertaining to the firearm you wish to purchase, including details about the buyer.
Section 11e of that form clearly stipulates that the use of marijuana remains a federal crime even if states have legalized the drug. In short, even if medical cannabis is legal in Florida, that legality is of no consequence during the purchase of firearms.
For now, many people may not yet be aware of the implication of using medical marijuana and its effects on gun ownership, but lawyers warn that people will start taking notice or being upset if their applications to buy guns are rejected or when they face criminal charges related to owning a gun when one is a user of marijuana.
However, Craig Kailimai, the Assistant Special Agent in Charge of the ATF office in Tampa, Florida says that it is unlikely that the federal government could prosecute gun owners who use medical marijuana in Florida unless the law enforcement agencies can prove that the individual poses a real threat of violence.
Kailimai is quick to add that while charges may not be instituted, it remains a crime to buy a gun if you are a user of marijuana. But, the ATF and the federal government will only pick interest in a marijuana user who conforms to state marijuana laws if such a user becomes violent or reveals violent tendencies.
Unless federal marijuana laws change, people who wish to act in accordance with the strict spirit and letter of the law could be faced with a difficult choice between taking the medical marijuana that they need to deal with their health condition, or to buy and own a firearm.
Analysts believe that marijuana industry players like Cannabis Strategic Ventures, Inc. (OTCQB: NUGS) and Canopy Rivers Inc. (TSX.V: RIV) (OTC: CNPOF) could be citing such contradictions between federal and state laws as they campaign for marijuana law reforms at the federal level. No one should have to choose between using medical marijuana and giving up his or her right to own a firearm in the U.S.
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