Gun and marijuana advocates have formed an unlikely alliance to fight a new federal rule that bans the sale of weapons to people who are legally using medical marijuana.
In a letter last week from the Justice Department to federally licensed gun dealers, the Department reiterates that marijuana is a Schedule I drug and that “there are no exceptions in federal law for marijuana purportedly used for medicinal purposes, even if such use is sanctioned by state law.”
The letter goes on to say that it is illegal under federal law to sell a gun or ammunition to a person “knowing or having reasonable cause to believe that such person is an unlawful user of or addicted to a controlled substances."
It continues: “Therefore, 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 an unlawful user of or addicted to a controlled substance and is prohibited by federal law from possessing firearms or ammunition."
The Billings Gazette reports that in Montana, where medical marijuana is legal and guns are plentiful, gun and pot groups are outraged.
“It is egregious that people may be sentenced to years in a federal prison only because they possessed a firearm while using a state-approved medicine,” said Gary Marbut of the Montana Shooting Sports Association.
Kate Cholewa with the Montana Cannabis Industry Association said, “In fact, the policy goes so far as to say even being in possession of a medical cannabis card forfeits a citizen’s Second Amendment rights whether or not that person ever followed through and used cannabis for their condition.”