Guns and Marijuana- A Complex Interaction of Rights-

pistol ad marijuana

Guns and Marijuana don’t mix

 

Local Attitudes Complicate things further…

The issue with gun ownership is complex. It is clear you have the legal right to posses firearms if you are not a felon. It is clear you have a right to possess marijuana in Michigan with strict compliance with the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act. The problem is that the “Authorities” dislike both rights and in some cases will attempt to challenge these rights in Court.

The problem of guns and marijuana is compounded because of the attitude of different police officers vary. The problem varies from the different attitude of individual county prosecutor offices from county to county and even within an office. There are different attitudes among judges at the trial court and appellate court level also.

For example the Michigan Court of Appeals has been assigning judges to hear MMMA cases that are adverse and tend to narrow or negatively impact the rights granted under the MMMA while the Michigan Supreme Court has consistently protected the rights. This complex arena that can vary from town to town and jurisdiction to jurisdiction. I have been asked to offer guidance on the use of firearms in conjunction with Medical Marijuana. Therefore, here is my advise: Don’t exercise both rights simultaneously. Let me explain why Guns and Marijuana don’t mix well.

Your Gun Rights are Dependent on Winning your Marijuana Case

Under Michigan Medical Marihuana Act the right is an affirmative defense that requires that you have to prove your legal status otherwise the action is illegal. This means that if you can not produce your doctor to establish the bonafide dr/pt relationship  in court , which is required by some judges, or otherwise fail to establish the defense then you are in effect subject to the criminal sanctions.

On the other hand, the penalty for possession of a firearm in conjunction with illegal drugs significantly raises the penalty. In the event the disqualification of the affirmative defense under section 4 or section 8 results in a felony conviction, the possession of a firearm (even in a gun safe on another floor) can result in an additional charge that requires 2 years in prison.

Adding a Gun to the Mix Could Mean You Fight the Good Fight or Take a Plea

The effect is that many people choose to have the mandatory penalty for the firearm dismissed in exchange for a conviction of a less serious drug offense…this settlement occurs because the risk of losing at trial is too great. Without the firearm charge, the same case could be brought to a judge or jury without risk of going to state prison. While it is easy for some advocates to say from the comfort of their home that they are willing to risk it all to assert their rights, many sick patients who have other responsibilities can not afford to be a martyr for the cause.

Federal Enforcement of Gun Laws

Guns and Marijuana

Firearm Control is a Federal Priority

The federal government has recently stated that they will only enforce federal law against citizens when one of 8 concerns are present.   Listed among those concerns is firearms.  So when asked can a person possess a firearm or have a concealed weapon permit and a MMMA card, I always say you have the right to cross the street in front of a bus if you stay in the crosswalk, but you may end up splattered all over the road.

You have been forewarned, but compliance with all MMMA laws and compliance with all laws relating to the possession of a firearm could result in legal possession and a successful defense, there is no legitimate reason why anyone would exercise both rights at the same time. Guns and Marijuana don’t mix well.

I get calls from people who want to argue with my analysis and that is okay. There are a large number of individuals who have not been victimized by the unreasonable enforcement and most government officials are reasonable; however it is the other cases of arbitrary enforcement and unreasonable acts that result in you hiring me.

Are you a Juicy Target?

My final comment is that if you are a patient and do not grow or ever possess more than about a half ounce of medicine and a single rifle locked in a gun cabinet then you are at less risk than if you have a nice gun collection and act as a caregiver for 5 other patients. Please be advised that if you are raided by law enforcement they will certainly file forfeiture papers to become the owner of your gun collection as well.

In the event you disregard this advice or did not have this advice and find yourself facing a firearms charge in conjunction with your medicine, then you’ll be pleased that recent case law has distinguished between actual and constructive possession. These cases following the Second Amendment and have provided an argument for dismissal at the preliminary exam phase of a criminal prosecution. However these cases are not binding published decisions in other words your court can disregard them.  Contact my office for details.  231-348-5100