Can I buy a gun when using medicinal marijuana in Pennsylvania?

No.  A person that uses marijuana is prohibited from possessing or attempting to purchase a gun.  While many states allow people to use medical marijuana and some states even allow recreational use, marijuana use is still illegal under Federal law.  Under 18 U.S.C. 922(g)(3), “an unlawful user” of any controlled substance is prohibited from possessing or attempting to buy a gun.

Many people argue that they are not “an unlawful user” because they are legal allowed to use marijuana under state law.  That is a common sense reading of the law.  The problem is that the law often does not make sense.  Because marijuana use is completely illegal under Federal law, any use of marijuana is “unlawful”, so any user of marijuana is prohibited under Federal law from possessing or attempting to purchase a firearm.  A person that uses marijuana and is caught with a gun can be charged with felony charges under both Federal and state laws.

Purchasing a Gun and the Federal Firearm Form

When a person tries to buy a gun, they must complete an ATF Form 4473, and question 11(e) asks if the person is an “unlawful user of, or addicted to, marijuana or any depressant, stimulant, narcotic drug, or any other controlled substance.”  The question contains a WARNING that emphasizes that marijuana possession is illegal under Federal law, so any medicinal marijuana user is also an unlawful user.   Such a person should answer “yes” to that question, and answering yes means that the person is not permitted to buy a gun.  If the person answers “no” and is caught, the person may be prosecuted for lying on the gun application.  If convicted of the offenses, the faces jail time and a criminal record that would impose a liftime gun ban.

Please do not contact this office to tell us that this is stupid and that a person using medical marijuana should be able to use a gun.  We are explaining the law as it is written.  If you don’t like the law, then contact your U.S. Senator or Representative to have Federal law changed.