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Can Medical Marihuana Users Possess Firearms?

A recent article in the Macomb County Bar Journal by attorney Beth Gemellaro addressed the issue whether medical marihuana patients can legally purchasing firearms.

In Michigan, the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act (MMMA) allows a certain class of individuals to use marihuana for medical purposes. However, the act only provides for a defense to state prosecution for the possession and use of marihuana under state law.

Federal law prevents an unlawful user of marihuana, or someone addicted to it, from acquiring a firearm. A person is considered an unlawful user if they have engaged in regular use over a period of time proximate to the possession of the firearm. Additionally, when purchasing a firearm, buyers must fill out a federal form and answer the question:

"Are you an unlawful user of, or addicted to, marihuana, or any depressant, stimulant, or narcotic drug, or any other controlled substance?"

The issue becomes complicated because both state and federal law govern the status of marihuana as an unlawful drug. Medical marihuana users may risk federal prosecution for making false statements on forms required by ATF for the purchase of a firearm.

Medical marihuana users currently possessing a firearm, or wishing to in the future, should consult with an experienced attorney to help them sort through the federal and state laws that govern both marihuana and firearms.

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