If you're a medical marijuana smoker who happens to be in the market for a firearm, you might want to keep your state-issued cannabis card in your wallet once you reach the cash register. According to an Associated Press report, the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco & Firearms (ATF) has just issued a letter to gun dealers throughout the country warning them that they are prohibited from selling weapons to potheads.
The letter apparently cites a 2009 memo stating that it's against federal law for anyone who is an “unlawful user of, or addicted to” any controlled substance to possess a gun, telling dealers that this prohibition also applies to weed smokers. The ATF sent out the letter because it has been contacted by numerous dealerships in states where it is legal to smoke marijuana for medical purposes who want to know if the federal law applied to these customers as well.
For the time being, it's unclear how this ban is going to be enforced. Assuming
that you don't walk into The Grant Boys wearing an OCNORML t-shirt or
otherwise give away the fact that you're 420-friendly, the gun dealer
will have no way of knowing whether or not you smoke weed. That said, if you hold a state-issued medical marijuana ID card, perhaps your name may someday make its way onto some list that the feds force gun dealers to check before selling you that sporty looking Glock.
In any case, the no-guns-for-potheads letter is being decried by both gun advocates and medical marijuana folks as a violation of the 2nd Amendment, but leaving that debate aside, doesn't the ATF have anything better to do? Like maybe allowing informants to smuggle AK47s into Mexico and into the hands of crazed cartel killers who have reportedly used them to murder their rivals, including police officials, south of the border?