BALTIMORE (WJZ)– As more marijuana dispensaries begin to operate in Maryland, some users are realizing they are not allowed to own a gun.
Federal law prohibits anyone who uses any form of marijuana from owning a gun.
The rule isn’t new. The question about marijuana use has long been on the federal questionnaire to get approved for a gun, but it’s now coming to some people’s attention.
Marijuana users who are enjoying the new found freedom to use the drug; are finding out they’ve lost the right to bear arms.
Pro marijuana groups are actively trying to change the law.
“It’s denying the constitutional rights of somebody who is using the best medicine to treat their symptoms,” said Morgan Fox Marijuana Policy Project. “That’s just frankly unfair. We hope to address that by changing federal law in the future.”
Question 11-E on a federal gun form asks if the applicant is “an unlawful user of, or addicted to marijuana or any depressant…”
If they answer is “yes,” the ATF says your application will be denied.
Frank Loane, owner of Pasadena Pawn and Gun, says he’s turned away a potential buyer.
“Marijuana is a drug, a hallucinatory I guess, whether you are taking it legally or not, you probably shouldn’t have a firearm,” Loane said.
If an applicant lies about their marijuana use when they are trying to get a gun and the government finds out, they could face a combination of penalties, including prison time and up to a $250,000 fine.
“I believe it’s an American right to own a gun,” one man said “If you’re a legal citizen and you’re doing a legal substance that is being prescribed to you, you should be able to own a gun.”
“If the drinking is affecting you and the marijuana is affecting you, maybe you don’t need a gun, but if they are being handled differently, I don’t see why,” one woman said.
Some advocacy groups are pushing for marijuana to be regulated by the same standard as alcohol.
“We think that marijuana should be regulated like alcohol for adults and people who use it for medical reasons should be able to have safe and reliable access to it,” Fox said.
Now that the legislature is back in session, the group says they will push lawmakers to decriminalize marijuana across the board.