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Gun Owners Beware: Marijuana Use & Gun Ownership Do Not Go Together

Letter to the Editor


January 13, 2021 | View PDF

In the last election, Montana voters chose to legalize recreational marijuana starting in 2021. Medical marijuana use is currently legal in both North Dakota and Montana. North Dakota has not legalized recreational use.

While many may be celebrating, gun owners should beware. Marijuana continues to be an illegal substance to use or possess under federal law. Such use or possession will subject you to being a restricted owner of firearms. To be more specific, if you use or possess marijuana, recreationally or medically, you are restricted from owning or purchasing a firearm, effectively losing your gun rights under the Second Amendment.

If you’re like many Montanans and North Dakotans, you likely own a firearm or value the constitutional right to own a firearm. Yet you may not realize how easy it is to lose this right.

If you walk into a sporting goods store to purchase a firearm you will receive an ATF Form 4473 to fill out, which includes question 21(e):

Are you an unlawful user of, or addicted to, marijuana or any depressant, stimulant, narcotic drug, or any other controlled substance?

Warning: The use or possession of marijuana remains unlawful under Federal law regardless of whether it has been legalized or decriminalized for medicinal or recreational purposes in the state where you reside.

The form further provides the following advisement in relevant part:

I understand that a person who answers “yes” to any of the questions 21.b. through 21.k. is prohibited from receiving or possessing a firearm. . . . I also understand that making any false oral or written statement, or exhibiting any false or misrepresented identification with respect to this transaction, is a crime punishable as a felony under Federal law, and may also violate State and/or local law.

All of this to say, if you value your gun rights, but yet you plan to take advantage of Montana’s recreational marijuana law, or even if you have a prescription to use medical marijuana, you are prohibited by Federal law from owning, possessing or purchasing a firearm.

Remember part of the lyrics to the Steve Miller Band song, the Joker; about being “a smoker” or a “midnight toker”. However, under federal firearms law, if you’re “a smoker” or a “toker” you’re not a legal gun owner.

Don Netzer

Joel Krautter

Chase Brown


Netzer Law Office, PC, Sidney, MT


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