Legalization of medical and recreational marijuana have been spreading across the states, leading to increased struggles between state and federal legislation. But what does this mean for responsible gun owners? U.S. LawShield Independent Program Attorney, Wilkes Ellsworth, breaks down the latest in Ohio law for marijuana use, in regards to possessing and owning a firearm.
If Ohio makes marijuana use legal, can I lose my rights to carry or own a firearm in this state? Herein lies the rub. A conflict arises between federal law and state law: Ohio might say it is okay to procure and use medical marijuana, but the federal government still considers medical marijuana a Schedule 1 controlled substance. When this conflict began arising some time ago, the US Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms sent out a letter to all federally licensed firearms dealers advising that, “There are no exceptions in federal law for marijuana purportedly used for medicinal purposes, even if such is sanctioned by state law.” As you can see, the feds are not playing around. This affects not only the purchasing of firearms, but also the “shipping, transporting, receiving, and possessing of firearms or ammunition.” It’s a catch-all.
Some might be worried about how this information can then be tracked by the authorities. Well, in the case of the federal government, it will be when and how you answer Question 11E on ATF Form 4473 about whether you use marijuana. Obviously, you need to answer this truthfully so as not to become an immediate felon by providing false information when purchasing a firearm. As far as the state authorities are concerned, the OARRS (Ohio Automated Prescription Reporting System), which will have a database of all users registered, is only going to be accessible by doctors and pharmacists, so “Big Brother”, at least on the state level, won’t be looking over your shoulder.
Finally, remember that even legal use of medical marijuana can lead to low-level convictions if one finds themselves outside the friendly confines of the program’s rules. Those convictions can then lead to a loss of gun rights themselves. CCW permits will not be issued to those individuals with even misdemeanor convictions that are drug or paraphernalia related, if over the minor misdemeanor level. All in all, this is a big deal for gun owners in Ohio, a minefield of legalities that require real attention if one is going to navigate them.