ATF: cannabis use by gun owners still against federal law

AP Photo/Hans Pennink

A while back, a lot of people supported the legalization of cannabis use but not nearly enough to make much of a difference. They were a minority in this country by a wide margin.


Today, a lot of states are legalizing pot use for medical use at a minimum.

Minnesota, though, recently joined the ranks of states that legalized it recreationally. For pot activists, that’s a big win.

However, the ATF has a stern warning for pot users in Minnesota:

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives on Tuesday released clarification for gun owners and potential gun owners with Minnesota’s recreational cannabis bill officially signed into law.

According to the ATF’s St. Paul Field Division, the Federal Gun Control Act of 1968 prohibits anyone who is an unlawful user of any controlled substance – as defined by the later Controlled Substances Act of 1970 – from “shipping, transporting, receiving, or possessing firearms or ammunition.”

Despite the recreational cannabis bill being signed into law in Minnesota, a current user of cannabis is still, under federal law, defined as an unlawful user of a controlled substance.

Now, we can debate whether it should be illegal or not, but the truth is that cannabis is still illegal under federal law and until that changes, state law is irrelevant when it comes to the prohibition of drug users owning guns.

And let’s be real here, you’re not Hunter Biden, so don’t think you’ll be the one to get away with it should it come to light.

You still have to fill out a Form 4473 and you still will be required to acknowledge the illicit drug use on that form, which will then disqualify you from buying a gun. Further, the prohibition will also be applied to any guns you currently own.


And yes, it’s wrong. Especially since this should be something we could see bipartisan movement on. Republicans are pro-gun, at least in theory. Democrats support legalized cannabis, at least in theory. There should be enough votes in both chambers of Congress to legalize marijuana to some degree or another, thus making these comments from the ATF irrelevant.

Hell, Biden should support such a bill if for no other reason than to make sure his son stays out of prison even after he’s out of office.

Unfortunately, despite all the rhetoric from either side, there’s just no political will to set this matter to right. Say what you want about Florida’s Nikki Fried, despite her anti-gun sympathies, she was at least consistent on the cannabis issue and tried to overturn this prohibition via the courts.

Yet that hasn’t happened, so if you’re a gun owner and decide to engage in the recreational use of marijuana, understand that you’re violating federal law and could end up with some serious problems should that come to light.

I won’t tell you what to do, but understand the realities and legalities. You don’t have to like them, approve of them, or anything else. You just need to remember what they are and make your decisions accordingly.

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