Marijuana Law, Policy & Reform

Editor: Douglas A. Berman
Moritz College of Law

Monday, November 14, 2016

"Legal Marijuana Poses a Problem for Gun Buyers"

The title of this post is the headline of this notable new Wall Street Journal article.  Here are excerpts:

Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s husband and sons ordered her a new Benelli 12-gauge shotgun as a gift, but when the Alaska Republican — and enthusiastic duck hunter — went to pick it up, she was puzzled by a question on the federal background form she had to fill out. The form asked if she used marijuana for medicinal or recreational purposes, both of which are legal in Alaska. If she answered yes, she would be unable to get the gun, because federal law prohibits anyone who uses illegal drugs from buying a firearm.

The senator doesn’t use pot, but she was taken aback by the notion that an activity that is legal in her state could block gun ownership. “I don’t like marijuana — I voted against legalization — but we passed it,” Ms. Murkowski said in an interview. “Now, you’ve got this conflict.”

The scope of that conflict just grew, as voters in eight states last week approved marijuana-related ballot initiatives. Now, 28 states and Washington D.C., allow marijuana use in some form, including eight that allow recreational use. Yet federal law still holds that anyone who uses marijuana, even medicinally, is doing so illegally and can’t buy a gun.

That is upsetting advocates for both gun owners and pot smokers, groups that don’t always find themselves on the same side of the cultural divide. “This idea that you somehow waive your Second Amendment rights if you smoke marijuana” is wrong, said Keith Stroup, founder of NORML, which advocates marijuana legalization. “In particular, if you are using marijuana as a medicine, the idea that you have to choose between your health and the Second Amendment is offensive.

http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/marijuana_law/2016/11/legal-marijuana-poses-a-problem-for-gun-buyers.html

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