Marijuana and Guns: The First of Our Educational Series!!!

Arizona NORML and Southern Arizona NORML Are Excited to Promote Our New Educational Series

Arizona NORML and Southern Arizona NORML are proud to announce our new Educational Series.  The Educational Series aligns with our mission to provide outreach and education to our community.  In this series, we will host webinars to address issues relative to both cannabis and cannabis consumers.  Furthermore, we’ll incorporate experts in the field to examine those issues that have come to our attention through our advocacy and concerns relayed to us by volunteers and community members.  It is our hope that this series will serve to enlighten and protect all cannabis consumers and provide requisite information to help members of our community from running afoul with the law.  Lastly, if you have an issue that you would like us to examine, please email us at mike@soaznorml.org

Mike Wilson’s Dilemma of Medical Marijuana and Guns

We’d like to offer the following anecdote involving Mike Wilson to illustrate the issue of marijuana and guns in Arizona.

Mike Wilson suffers from chronic pain due to a work-related injury.  He has found that cannabis helps mitigate the worst of his symptoms and provides him with the analgesic relief necessary for him to be productive each day despite his lingering pain.  Mike currently possesses a medical marijuana card in the state of Arizona which allows him to consume cannabis legally to treat his condition.

Because Mike grew up hunting with his father and older brothers, he has been trained in firearm safety throughout his life.  Mike hasn’t possessed a gun since he was injured at work almost five years ago.  Mike was talking with friends who were planning a hunting trip in northern Arizona and decided that he would like to join them on the excursion.  However, Mike didn’t own a rifle to go hunting so he decided to purchase one.

Mike went to his local gun store and decided on a gun to purchase.  The dealer immediately produced the ATF’s Firearms Transaction Record Form 4473 for Mike to fill out prior to the purchase.  Mike began answering the questions on ATF Form 4473 but when he got to question 21(e), he was shocked and dismayed by what he read.

Question 21(e) inquires as to cannabis and drug use and asks the applicant to respond with a yes or no answer.  Here is Question 21(e):

Are you an unlawful user of, or addicted to, marijuana or any depressant, stimulant, narcotic drug, or any other controlled substance? Warning: The use or possession of marijuana remains unlawful under Federal law regardless of whether it has been legalized or decriminalized for medicinal or recreational purposes in the state where you reside.

Mike was informed that if he has a medical marijuana card and consumes cannabis, then he is prohibited by Federal law to possess firearms or ammunition.  Furthermore, Mike learned that the gun dealer cannot sell a firearm or ammunition to him if he answers in the affirmative relative to Question 21(e).

Mike didn’t know what to do.  If he checked no so that he could purchase the firearm, he could face Federal felony charges for falsely stating that he does not consume cannabis.  If he checked yes, then he would be prohibited from purchasing or possessing a gun or ammunition.

Mike’s situation is not unusual in the state of Arizona and similar scenarios play out on a regular basis due to the dichotomy of liberalized state marijuana laws and federal prohibition.

Mike was anxious for clarity on this critical issue and so were we!

Marijuana and Guns in Arizona

In considering Mike Wilson’s scenario and other comparable situations, it was with great anticipation and excitement that we were able to offer the first installment of our Educational Series on Tuesday, August 18th.  Our premiere webinar featured the preceding topic that has vexed Mike Wilson and many others.  That issue concerns marijuana and guns.  With medical marijuana being legal in the state of Arizona and adult-use legalization on the horizon, the issue will continue to be at the forefront of any discussion involving marijuana and guns in our state.  With that in mind, we decided to reach out to legal experts to assist us in examining the legal realities of marijuana and guns in Arizona.

We would like to thank both Logan Elia and Adam Trenk from the Rose Law Group and Geoff Jacobs, a former US Navy veteran and Arizona State Trooper, for joining us for our first webinar on marijuana and guns!  You can watch the webinar below and get answers to the following questions and more from Logan, Adam and Geoff:

  1. Does having a medical marijuana card mean that I am unable to purchase guns legally?
  2. Does having a medical marijuana card mean that I cannot possess firearms?
  3. What would the legalization of adult-use cannabis in Arizona change regarding gun ownership?
  4. Can I still have a CCW permit?
  5. What are the consequences for violating the law relative to marijuana and guns?
  6. Where can I go for help if I am facing those consequences?

More Webinars to Follow in Our Educational Series

We hope that you enjoyed our presentation on Marijuana and Guns and that you now have a more thorough understanding of the issue and how it affects cannabis consumers in the state of Arizona.  Arizona NORML and Southern Arizona NORML will be hosting more webinars in the future as part of our Educational Series and hope that you can join us!  Remember to reach out to either Arizona NORML or Southern Arizona NORML if you have any questions regarding marijuana and guns or have personally experienced any issue regarding marijuana and guns.  If you have any ideas or suggestions for a webinar, please email us at mike@soaznorml.org