The differences between state and federal marijuana laws have left many confused. While many states, including Michigan, have legalized marijuana, it remains unlawful at the federal level. This complicates several things, including your right to own a firearm.
Learn what happens if you smoke marijuana and own a gun, and the possible consequences. Unfortunately, you could face federal felony charges if you own a gun and regularly smoke pot.
Legalization of Marijuana in Michigan
Michigan is fairly progressive when it comes to marijuana. The use of cannabis for medical reasons was made legal in 2008 and for recreational use in 2018.
Since 2019, dispensaries across MI have been selling marijuana. This helped destigmatize a pervasive habit and significantly boosted the state’s economy. But, legalization has had a ripple effect on other rights, including gun ownership.
Federal vs. State Law
On a federal level, marijuana is still illegal. Because of that, it’s against the law to smoke marijuana and buy or own a firearm. This is a felony offense that could land you up to ten years in prison.
Many marijuana users are still not aware of this. They don’t know that the act of owning a gun while being a habitual user of marijuana could land them in serious legal trouble.
It’s Illegal to Own a Gun & Use Marijuana
This issue has been revisited multiple times since states started legalizing marijuana, with many arguing that it doesn’t make sense to keep this law on the books. However, as of 2016, the U.S. Court of Appeals has upheld the federal ban on gun ownership for marijuana users.
Some users may become aware of this when they buy a gun from a legal seller. They must answer a question that asks if they are a user of marijuana or any other controlled substance. Form 4473 states explicitly that the use of marijuana is still against federal law even if it has been legalized in your state.
If you lie on that form and state that you are not an unlawful user of marijuana, you could get up to ten years in prison.
What is an “Unlawful User?”
This is a fairly vague term. However, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Detroit has said that one-time use of marijuana does not make someone an unlawful user. Regular use of marijuana or another controlled substance does.
Will You Be Prosecuted?
Some people choose to risk it and keep or purchase guns while still using marijuana. Across the board, the likelihood of prosecution for this crime is relatively low. One source stated that these charges are usually brought up when someone is being investigated for more serious crimes.
That doesn’t mean that the risk isn’t there. As long as you own or buy a gun and use marijuana, you are at risk of facing federal charges. With social media being such a prominent part of most people’s lives now, it is easy for investigators and prosecutors to secure the evidence they need for a quick conviction.
While many prosecutors may be uninterested in pursuing charges for a crime that technically hurts no one, a prosecutor who runs on a heavily anti-drug platform may seek charges because they are quick and easy cases that improve their record.
Protect Yourself—Call Davis Law Group
If you’ve been arrested for owning or buying a gun and using marijuana, your future is at stake. This isn’t the time to talk your way out of trouble or hope for good luck.