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The feds have never liked the fact that several states – sixteen plus DC and counting – have legalized marijuana use for medical purposes. All that locally legal glaucoma mitigation has been a burr under the DOJ’s saddle for long time and the chronic is still a schedule I controlled substance under federal law. Now, someone at the ATF has woken up long enough to issue a new policy regarding legally prescribed ganja and guns…

Arthur Herbert, the ATF’s Assistant Director of Enforcement of Programs and Services issued a letter to all FFLs explaining the new rules of the game. And it appears the ATF is putting some of the onus for determining who’s smoking the jibber on your friendly neighborhood gun dealer.

Federal law…makes it unlawful for any person to sell or otherwise dispose of any firearm or ammunition to any person knowing or having reasonable cause to believe that such person is an unlawful user of or addicted to a controlled substance. As provided by 27 C.F.R. Sec. 478.11, “an inference of current use may be drawn from evidence of a recent use or possession of a controlled substance or a pattern of use or possession that reasonably covers the present time.”

[emphasis in above quote in the original]

So next time you belly up to the gun counter ready to pay for that 10/22 (or even a box of .22LR ammo, for that matter) don’t be surprised if your formerly friendly gun seller asks you to lift those tinted glasses and gives your clothing a sniff to see if you reek.

As you might imagine, this has made for an odd opposition alliance of both second amendment and medical marijuana rights supporters.

Gary Marbut, president of the Montana Shooting Sports Association, and Kate Cholewa and Chris Lindsey, board members of Montana Cannabis Industry Association, separately blasted the Sept. 21 letter sent by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives of the U.S. Justice Department to federally licensed firearms dealers.

“It is egregious that people may be sentenced to years in a federal prison only because they possessed a firearm while using a state-approved medicine,” Marbut said in a statement from the association.

Cholewa said: “In fact, the policy goes so far as to say even being in possession of a medical cannabis card forfeits a citizen’s Second Amendment rights whether or not that person ever followed through and used cannabis for their condition.”

So now, thanks to the famously scrupulous legal enforcement efforts of the ATF and the Holder DOJ (*cough cough*) chemo patients will now have to make a choice between being able to defend themselves and keeping breakfast down. The administration must be so proud.

In the mean time, TTAG will do its part by lighting a fire under RF to keep up the pressure with more Death Watch posts. Our friends at the ATF can’t be disbanded soon enough.

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  1. There’s always the option of not smoking pot as a solution, but that’s pretty obvious. Considering the jihad over cigarette smoke and all it’s dangers why is smoking weed considered so healthy and wise?

    • It is initially marijuana. Later it will be pain medication, and then any medication that may impair judgment. This is a way to deny firearm ownership and say no to concealed carry permits.
      I agree, don’t smoke pot. But what if later you need some long term medication for a surgery or illness. Will you have to “not carry ” while under the care of your doctor? Will you have to give up your rights until you no longer have any issue that involves this type of medication? Will your government paid doctor inform authorities that you are now impaired? In my state doctors do this for the elderly so they have to retest for a drivers license.

    • Considering the jihad over cigarette smoke and all it’s dangers why is smoking weed considered so healthy and wise?

      There’s a plethora of evidence showing cigarettes and tobacco cause cancer, heart disease, death, and all sorts of health problems. Much of this has to do with the radioactive fertilizers used and also the many toxic andor carcinogenic chemicals added to the cigarettes are believed to have a deleterious effect.

      There’s a plethora of of evidence showing marijuana to relieve the symptoms of a wide variety of illnesses and diseases and ailments and there is absolutely no evidence that it causes any of the health problems associated with tobacco products. Not even the studies of long term users in Morocco and Jamaica and other places where huge amounts are consumed on a daily basis show any risk of lung cancer.

      • So you are seriously suggesting smoking pot is perfectly safe and carcinogen free?
        Who did the studies, NORML?

        • That’s the beauty of it…you don’t have to smoke it to get the benefits. There are other options out there such as putting it in baked goods and whatnot. I personnaly don’t use it but I find it funny how people get in such an uproar about people who do use – medically or recreationally. Look in the fridge or cabinet of just about any American household and you’ll find crazy amounts of alcohol.

        • I don’t think anyone’s trying to say weed is perfectly safe because any substance on this planet can be fatal in excessive amounts. I do, however, implore you to show me documented cases where death is directly attributable to marijuana use in sufficient numbers to be deemed as dangerous as tobacco or alcohol. Here’s a link to some very informative charts compiled from studies done by none other than the FDA,

          Keep in mind I don’t smoke the stuff.

  2. What the purveyors of legalized pot don’t say is that THC, the chemical in the marijuana that enhances appetite and suppresses nausea is available in tablet form, via a legal prescription from a doctor. Often given to cancer patients to stimulate appetite, it then leaves us with no need to purchase the weed.

    • That drug, Marinol, is a good idea but isn’t perfect, and most patients think natural marijuana (smoked, eaten, or vaporized) is more effective with fewer side effects.
      One of the major drawbacks is that, since it’s a pill, it takes 45 minutes to an hour to work. When you’re going through violent vomiting from chemo, it’s hard to keep a pill down and wait for it to work. It’s also harder to control the dosage

      Plus it’s SUPER expensive and a less effective substitute than the real thing.

      Also, the implication that there is some cabal of “purveyors” controlling the message should be taken with a grain of salt given the massive and proven marketing and deception power of the pharmaceutical industry. Really, we’re gonna trust those guys?

      • You can crush Marinol capsules and let them dissolve on your tongue. Another FYI, Marinol has a higher rate of visual hallucinations, not exactly a good thing for a gun owner.

    • Smoking is not a healthy way to take any drug, inhaling burning *anything* is generally bad for you.

      But I can see Vincit Veritas’ argument as being meaningful, and a vaporizer can help mitigate the health effects of smoking.

  3. Well cigarettes aren’t marijuana, just like aspirin isn’t ibuprofen. An addiction to oxycontin isn’t exactly healthy or wise either, but when used appropriately as a medicine it’s safe and effective.

    And maybe the ATF should worry a little more about that first initial. Alcohol fuels much more direct violence than all other drugs combined (I freely admit to pulling this out of my ass, but I’d lay down good odds that it’s true), and there is absolutely no evidence that marijuana impairs your ability to operate a firearm any more than other prescription medication.

    Beyond that, there’s absolutely no reason anyone who uses marijuana responsibly (locking up their firearms, etc) should forfeit their right to own or carry a gun, any more than someone who has a few drinks in the evening.

    I’ve always thought there should be a natural alliance between legalization activists and conservatives (smaller government, personal freedom, fewer agencies)

  4. Alcohol is far more dangerous to our society than marijuana is. You can’t OD smoking pot. You also don’t fly into a rage and beat your wife while on pot.

    Then there is the societal cost of narcotics prohibition and the effect it’s having on poorer communities and increased misuse of Law Enforcement. It’s as if they didn’t learn the lesson from the last time we had prohibition!

    • Having worked with habitual pot users for years I have a different perspective. Stoned people are a PITA and blace burdens on those around them. They enjoy the buzz, everyone around them deals with the side effects. Marriages end, kids get neglected, work goes undone, and I don’t see cigarettes causing nearly as much grief.
      Decisions are not made with a lot of clarity on cloud nine, that’s for sure. As a parent of a young child I’d prefer not to have to combat legal pot as well as legal alcohol. Booze is legal because outlawing it ran against thousands of years of tradition and proved to be far more difficult than imagined.

      Marijuana has demonstrated learning impairment and in chronic users the effects are permanent. Of course the NORML folks call these studies bullshit but considering their agenda that doesn’t surprise.

      • Sorry bud. Marijuana use is a symptom, not a cause of lethargic behavior. Those folks who become “stoners” have deeper issues to deal with and turn to weed in the same way the alcoholics turn to drink.

        Marijuana and other narcotics have just as long a storied history as alcohol, if not longer. People have been getting high/drunk since they figured out how to do it. So saying it’s okay for alcohol to be legal and not drugs is quite bogus if you use that line of thinking.

        Anyways, what you’re suggesting is that normal folks should be punished for the actions of an irresponsible few. And as a parent, you really are naive to think that your kids will remain totally unexposed to marijuana and other drugs because it is illegal.

      • Marijuana has demonstrated learning impairment and in chronic users the effects are permanent. Of course the NORML folks call these studies bullshit but considering their agenda that doesn’t surprise.

        I have no association with NORML but every time I review an anti-marijuana study it turns out to be junk science or in many cases fraudulent science (that which has deliberately false results, i.e. the infamous “studies” of Dr. Nahas). Do you have happen to have any links to any actual scientific studies?

        “Stoned people are a PITA and blace burdens on those around them.”

        All of the stoned CEOs, lawyers, doctors, and other successful people with happy home lives might disagree.

      • “Booze is legal because outlawing it ran against thousands of years of tradition and proved to be far more difficult than imagined.”

        And what, pray tell, is the current tab for our little War on Drugs? Just round it to the nearest trillion (with a “t”). It’s easier that way. Prohibition failed because you can’t legislate human nature.

  5. alli have to say is that cigarettes provide ZERO befinift to sick people, which locoweed does, if it makes people feel better while going through chemo (which totally sucks by the way) then its fine with me. just don’t try to purchase when you do

  6. I’m not an expert. I’m just guilty of having read one too many books. After reading “Brave New World” I have a problem with any mood altering chemicals (Weed, booze, narcotics) for the purposes of escaping reality.

    The biggest thing I took away from the story is that escaping reality helps the Nanny State control us.

    Aside from that; If you want to light up to stop puking then have at it.

  7. It isn’t about safety or health, people. It’s only about control. The feds want to control the money (they do), the guns (they do) and the supply of licit and illicit drugs (the first they do, the other they’re working on). The rest is just bullsh!t.

    • Well, either that or representative government messily trying to find its way through a maze of complex and conflicting issues.

      I always wonder who this they are you darkly allude to — you know, the secret cabal that really runs things. Are they space aliens, or are these the mole people who live under the earth’s crust? I don’t think there is a they. It’s just us and Pogo was right.

      • I always wonder who this they are you darkly allude to — you know, the secret cabal that really runs things.

        There are many such secret cabals, but they aren’t secret. There’s the Council on Foreign Relations which claims to be the number one such group (and there is plenty of evidence to suggest they are), there’s the Trilateral Commission and the Bilderberg group (both formerly believed in by conspiracy theorists but these days they both have websites), and a wide variety of think tanks.

  8. Re: brave new world- them telling you not to take drugs, or which drugs to take, is the same level of control that book decries.

  9. Don’ t partake myself, but I think it should be legalized. Its no worse than booze, in my estimation, and it would clear out our prisons and bring in more tax revenue.

  10. I have lost a father (colon), mother (brain) and sister (breast) to various types of cancer.

    Yet, I know bullshit when I read it. Medical marijuana is bullshit on stilts. There are plenty of better medications that are available without the side effects of inhaled THC (smoking marijuana). There are readily available pain-killers. There are readily available appetite meds. The entire issue is a camel nose under the tent ruse to eliminate the federal ban on marijuana.

    If you want pot legalized, fine. But don’t use the suffering and mistreatment of so many ailing patients and families for bullshit.

    • FYI, but meds dont always work. I suffer from cyclic vomiting syndrome, nothing the hospital has given me has had any effect on the nausea, wether they are pills (Ondansetron), suppositories (Prochloperzine) or injections (unknown). Although it isnt cancer, it isnt fun, I spend 7 – 9 days in extreme nasua, vomiting every 15-30 mins, unable to hold down water, and cant sleep for more than 1 – 2 hours at a time. Every time I have a episode, it requires me to go to the ER at least once to get re-hydrated. Also if the medication did work, it is unreasonably expensive if you dont have health insurance.

      • Matt,

        If the meds don’t work then THC will not either. I don’t want my loved ones to have access to poor performing drugs. I want access to drugs that actually work. Again, there are better, more effective drugs than THC. There is no benefit to smoking marijuana that cannot be addressed by already existing medications.

        If individuals want to legalize marijuana, then push to change the law. But don’t lie to my face about medical treatment so someone’s nephew/best friend/uncle can still get stoned. I have read and listened to medical professionals and researchers. THC is a poor-performing drug. It may be cheap, but that has nothing to do with efficacy.

        When we as a community are constantly rebutting the efforts of gungrabbers, it is the same dynamic. They claim they only want reasonable gun laws to prevent violent crime. We all know that is BS. They want ALL guns out of the hands of law-abiding citizens contrary to the freedom established in the 2A. Advocates can claim that they only want marijuana for medical treatment because it is the right thing to do. I am calling BS because I am aware enough to know that is a first step to legalizing.

        My point is, don’t use the pain and suffering of others to justify getting baked in the high school parking lot.

        • Anti nausa drugs effect different receptors in the body, if one drug doesnt work, it doesnt mean that pot wont work either. Zofran targets 5-HT3 receptors, THC targets CB1 and CB2 receptors:

          If there are better and more effect drugs than THC, please state which drugs and provide a reference for your claim.

          Marinol doesn’t contain the same primary cannabinoid as pot. It also can cause visual hallucinations which pot generally will not.

          Please provide a reference for your claim that THC is a poor performing drug.

          I never used the pain and suffering of others to justify my opinion, I used my own experiences in case you didnt bother to read my comment.

              • How about a source other than the DEA, such as the FDA or CDC? Do you believe the ATF when they say US civilians are the reason there are so many guns in Mexico?

                Also that link doesnt say which drugs are better, they are simply quoting a NY times article instead of the FDA or a actual research report.

              • Wish the edit time here was longer, my post above should read:

                You failed to provide a reference that THC is a poor performing drug, you also failed to provide a reference for which drugs are more effective. The DEA’s article also failed to do so.

                The DEA article you linked primarly quotes news articles. It also appears the DEA is twisting the facts of reports. Although it doesnt seem to be available for free to the public, the IOM report is summarized by Amazon readers as
                “…However, when finally released in March 1999, the Institute of Medicine report not only confirmed that marijuana has legitimate medical uses and is remarkably safe, it also demolished the myths that marijuana leads to harder drugs or that it causes “amotivational syndrome”.
                Which directly contradicts the DEAs claim
                “For those reasons, the Institute of Medicine concluded that there is little future in smoked marijuana as a medically approved medication.”

                How about you directly link to a actual research report that has been published in a journal. Do you believe the ATF when they say US consumers are the reason for the guns in Mexico?

              • For some reason I cant directly reply to 277Volt’s comment, so i’m doing so here. The reports there only deal with causes of death, and it reaffirms what no one really disputes, and that is pot doesnt kill people. Unfortuently it doesnt go in to the effectiveness of the drugs or pot.

              • Matt,

                I did not cite the DEA. The sources for each statement are foot-noted at the bottom of the page. Do you really think the National Institue of Drug Abuse, the Journal of the American Medical Association, the Journal of Clinical Phamacology, the International Journal of Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics, and Pharmacology Review are all in bed with the DEA?

        • Tell my Aunt who died of breast cancer that medical marijuana doesn’t help with nausea better than the Marinol.

          Or my Grandmother who has rheumatoid arthritis so bad that she has been through every treatment modern medicine can throw her way and she is still on enough pain meds to kill me (6’5” 300lbs). One puff and its like she’s 20 years younger.

          Or my friend who goes through every day with nausea that words and doctors cannot explain. That is unless he takes a toke of the devils lettuce.

          You say that if the drugs dont work THC won’t either. I say the exact opposite. Seems to work for people all around the world every day. Humans have been using marijuana for thousands of years as a medicine and only in the last hundred in this country has it become illegal.

          There is no bullshit to helping people live a better life. I see pot, weed, cannabis, medical marijuana, whatever you want to call it helping people live that better life every day.

          What is bullshit is too take away these Americans rights to bear arms because they want to live a better life by simply imbibing a plant.

  11. I don’t think the government should have anything to say about, or knowledge of, what’s in my bank account, medicine chest or gun cabinet.

  12. We had a big discussion about this on another board. IMO the key phrase here is “unlawful user.”

    Herbert’s letter says the following:

    Therefore, any person who uses or is addicted to marijuana, regardless of whether his or her state has passed legislation authorizing marijuana use for medicinal purposes, is an unlawful user of or addicted to a controlled substance, and is prohibited by federal law from possessing firearms or ammunition.

    The way I see it, there are two problems with the above statement. The first is that it is a legal conclusion that is cited without any references – as far as I’m concerned, what he is stating is his opinion, not a legal rule.

    The second problem is that it puts the gun dealer and, for that matter, the gun owner, in a position of having to interpret contradictory laws. If I have a card that says I am authorized by state law to possess and consume marijuana for medical conditions (for the record, no, I don’t have one), then who is to say I am using “unlawfully?” The state certainly doesn’t think it’s unlawful, as they’re the ones who issued me the card.

    Such conflicts are precisely the reason we have appellate courts, so, as stated above, until some “controlling legal authority” (to borrow Al Gore’s phrase) says so, Herbert’s declaration that Medical Marijuana (MMJ) users are barred from firearms possession is only his opinion, not law.

    Obviously, his opinion carries weight as he can use it to focus prosecutorial emphasis on certain people, but sooner or later someone is going to challenge this in court and then we’ll get the real rule, which may or may not be consistent with Herbert’s opinion.

    I’m a non-practicing lawyer, I’d be interested in hearing what those in practice think of the issue, particularly those that do a lot of appellate work and/or admin law.

  13. So now, thanks to the famously scrupulous legal enforcement efforts of the ATF and the Holder DOJ (*cough cough*) chemo patients will now have to make a choice between being able to defend themselves and keeping breakfast down.

    That’s not the choice at the federal level. The choice is to A)Break “the law” and live or B) suffer andor die. The latter is your only official option.

  14. A scary thought for me is if the feds will feel empowered to go through medical marijuana databases and cross-reference people with a legal medical marijuana card to people who legally own guns. Legal + Legal = Illegal.

    I think it’s arrogant and uninformed for people to state that other medications can always solve your problem. For many users, marijuana is a last resort when other avenues have been exhausted. It’s a difficult step to take, and still comes with a social stigma that keeps it’s users doing it in secret even though it’s legal.

    Marijuana enables me to get through physical therapy, in combination with prescription anti-inflams. I cannot exercise on my regular prescription pain medication without vertigo and nausea making me fall down and curl up on the floor. Other pain medications have other bad effects including addictive qualities and making my skin crawl. Spine surgery is not an option for me. In fact I tried PT today without it, and twice had to kneel down on the floor while the room spun. The PT is giving me a life back (and a rebuilt core has the added benefit of giving me a stable stance at the range). The guns can stay in the cabinet on PT days. There is absolutely no connection between the two activities, or with work anything else in my life for that matter. I don’t like ‘getting high’, I’d rather not, I make my living with my brains, and don’t do it for any other reason than what it helps with. The idea that it’s addictive or a psychological problem is preposterous. It may be a problem for some people who already have mental problems, but people with mental problems should be kept from guns for that reason.

    This is big brother trying to apply the lowest common denominator to everyone to control the activities of the few.

  15. Here in lil rhody if you smoke weed you can’t buy a gun. I’m sure that everyone who fills out our legal forms before buying any gun never lies, so we don’t have to worry about pot heads buying guns.

  16. The problem with drug prohibition is tied to the problem with the prohibition of guns. Anyone ask why we needed a Constitutional amendment to ban alcohol ? And a Constitutional Amendment to prohibit the prohibition. But then — somehow, somewhere, somebody thereafter forgot to amend the Constitution before they started banning narcotics and ditchweed and any number of things unliked by those bent on assuring us that they will “protect us” from those”wicked people” doing drugs.

    That’s how it GCA happened in ’68 after RFK’s death. That’s how it happened in ’34, just after the lifting of prohibition itself, the crime that it had directly caused was nevertheless used to “control” NFA weapons.

    Liberty is unitary and attacks on it are all the same.

    Heller and McDonald are only Supreme Court decisions, and narrow ones. If you think the prohibitionary urges are going to be quelled by THAT, think more carefully about HOW drug prohibition managed to be A-OK despite the seeming need for a Consitutional amendment to ban alcohol, only a decasde or two earlier. See, the “right” people drank alcohol while the “wicked” people did other things to kill their unused brain cells.

    Deadly theater like Fast and Furious are but the beginning of the manufactured propaganda hysteria counterattack that is priming for the “right” emergency to not let go to waste to make sure they address the problem of those “wicked” people who like “nasty guns.”

    Control. It is all about control. Every bit of it, and the topic of control is incidental.

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