Three Consequences of Using Marijuana After Your State “Legalizes”

  • Guideline H: Drug Involvement and Substance Misuse

Published: April 9, 2021

States across the country are claiming to have legalized marijuana. While they have the authority to do so for State law only, marijuana still remains an illegal Schedule 1 drug and controlled substance to the Federal government. Many people, including gun owners, security clearance holders, and service members will soon learn that marijuana use is certainly still illegal. Anybody falling into one or more of these categories has three major concerns.

1. Marijuana users will fail future NICS firearm background checks.

This is a collateral consequence that many fail to consider. Marijuana users are considered to be Prohibited Persons. Question 21(e) of the NICS questionnaire (ATF Form 4473 (5300.9)) asks, “Are you an unlawful user of, or addicted to, marijuana or any depressant, stimulant, narcotic drug, or any other controlled substance?” To give you an idea of how serious the Federal government considers the issue of marijuana use to be, the remaining sub-questions in section 21 (Prohibited Persons) deal with felony arrests and fugitives from justice. The key words to focus on in question 21(e) are “unlawful” and “user”.

Marijuana is illegal in the United States. There can be no lawful use of marijuana in any state. Therefore, all marijuana use is illegal with regard to the Federal government and the aforementioned form. That said, the question asks if you are a user. This question, for now, fails to address possession, distribution, or investments in marijuana. As written, you are not presently required to disclose if you have possessed, distributed, or invested in marijuana manufacturing or distribution through dispensaries or other means.

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