Modern Marijuana Laws and Firearms

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Short version, Federally it is prohibited to use Marijuana and purchase a firearm. There is no work around for this situation.


Maine man challenges law that barred him from having gun because of marijuana possession

In July 2018 a Maine State Police trooper pulled Richard Tonini over for a traffic infraction, he found 5 1/2 ounces of marijuana, $5,000 cash and two handguns in Tonini’s car.

Tonini faced two charges — unlawfully furnishing scheduled drugs and possession of firearms prohibited for certain persons. A Hancock County jury earlier this year found Tonini not guilty of the drug furnishing charge but guilty of the firearms possession charge.

Now Tonini is challenging the law behind that firearm possession charge, calling it “unconstitutionally vague” because it effectively prohibited someone in possession of marijuana — a certified medical marijuana patient who can legally possess up to 8 pounds of the substance — from possessing a firearm.

This has been the crux of several legal debates across the country as medical and recreational marijuana use becomes the standard. The ATF, FBI, and every other law enforcement agency are still bound by Federal law to give the answer ‘prohibited person’ when asked about use of marijuana and firearms.

Tonini’s attorney, Max Coolidge of Ellsworth, has appealed the conviction — for which Tonini had to pay a $350 fine — to the Maine Supreme Judicial Court. In a 29-page brief filed in late September, Coolidge wrote that the law Tonini was found guilty of violating is a “vague criminal statute” that “violates due process because it fails to give citizens effective notice of prohibited conduct.”

The law in question prohibits anyone from possessing a firearm who “is an unlawful user of or is addicted to any controlled substance and as a result is prohibited from possession of a firearm” under federal law. It’s that question on the Form 4473, you answer yes, you’re prohibited. You answer ‘no’ and lie… felony.

We’re watching this and several cases moving through various courts until one finally sticks and we get a change in the classification.

Given the not guilty finding on the drug furnishing charge and Maine’s laws allowing use and possession of marijuana, Tonini’s “underlying conduct — the medicinal or recreational use of marijuana — is not objectionable to the state and does not rise to the level of a public safety concern that would justify a total ban on firearms for the affected class of persons,” MaxCoolidge, Attorney for Mr. Tonini

Keith is the Editor-in-Chief of GAT Marketing Agency, Inc. A USMC Infantry Veteran and Small Arms and Artillery Technician, Keith covers the evolving training and technology from across the shooting industry. A Certified Instructor since 2009, he has taught concealed weapons courses in the West Michigan area in the years since and continues to pursue training and teaching opportunities as they arise.