On Tuesday, June 26, voters in Oklahoma overwhelming voted 56 percent to 43 percent in support of State Question 788, the ballot initiative to legalize marijuana for medical use. As a reminder, we previously reported on the legal implications to gun owners that obtain a permit to use medical marijuana.
While marijuana may have some medical uses, it is still an illegal Schedule 1 drug under federal law. As such, a person’s right to possess firearms can be impacted. In 2011, the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives issued a letter to licensed firearms dealers concerning marijuana, stating:
“Any person who uses or is addicted to marijuana, regardless of whether his or her state has passed legislation authorizing marijuana use for medicinal purposes … is prohibited by federal law from possessing firearms or ammunition.”
Lisa Meiman, a spokesperson for the ATF in Denver, says, “Under federal law marijuana is still a controlled substance, meaning that people who are marijuana users are not able to lawfully possess a firearm regardless of the state laws.”
But the issue goes beyond the mere possession of firearms. The ATF amended Form 4473, the Firearms Transfer Form all would-be firearms purchasers must complete to buy a gun from a federally licensed firearms dealer, with this warning on question 11 item e—”The use or possession of marijuana remains unlawful under Federal law regardless of whether it has been legalized or decriminalized in the state where you reside.”
Several Oklahoma law enforcement officials, including Rogers County Sheriff Scott Walton, have stated that it will negatively impact the right to possess or purchase firearms for those individuals that obtain a medical marijuana license in Oklahoma.
Until the federal government reclassifies marijuana or changes its policy regarding use for medical purposes, it will still remain illegal to possess or purchase firearms by individuals partaking of cannabis.
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