Bill Introduced in Congress to Exempt Legal Marijuana from Federal Gun Ban

Bill Introduced in Congress to Exempt Legal Marijuana from Federal Gun Ban

WASHINGTON, DC — A bill has been introduced in Congress that would override a 2011 ruling by the ATF that says it is illegal for medical marijuana patients to buy or own guns.

Representative Jared Polis (D-Colorado) introduced HR 3483, the Protecting Individual Liberties and States’ Rights Act, on Thursday, and it was assigned to the House Judiciary Committee for review.

The text of the bill is not yet available, but the summary of the bill states that the intent of the proposal is “to amend title 18, United States Code, to provide exceptions from the firearm prohibitions otherwise applicable in relation to marijuana if its possession is lawful under State law.”

Update: the full text of the bill has now been posted online.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms ruled in September 2011 that it illegal for registered medical marijuana patients to buy or own guns.  In a memo released at the time, federal firearms dealers were notified that medical marijuana patients are “addicts” or “unlawful drug users” who cannot legally own weapons or ammunition.

“Any person who uses or is addicted to marijuana, regardless of whether or not his or her state has passed legislation authorizing marijuana use for medicinal purposes, is an unlawful user of or is addicted to a controlled substance and is prohibited by federal law from possessing firearms or ammunition,”  Arthur Herbert, Assistant Director for Enforcement Programs and Services for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco & Firearms, wrote in the memo.

A medical marijuana registration card alone is proof enough to deny a weapons sale, the Herbert said.

Due to the current conflict between state and federal drug laws, many medical marijuana dispensary owners operating within the boundaries of their state marijuana laws have faced additional weapons charges following federal raids on their businesses.

In one of the highest profile cases to date, Montana Cannabis operator Chris Williams was facing 80 years in federal prison after being convicted on eight federal marijuana and weapons charges in 2012.

Williams was not convicted of using his firearms or even of brandishing them, but merely of having legal shotguns present at the medical marijuana grow, which was legal under Montana law.   He received a five year sentence in February.


  • Mike

    This is a very important initiative now that more than half of all Americans live in states where some form of marijuana is legal. It was patently ridiculous to claim that people using medical marijuana are “addicts” but that’s how the BATF rolls. It’s time to put an end to the BATF’s abuse of its administrative powers. Moreover, last time I read the text of the gun purchase paperwork, it says nothing about “unlawful users” just addicts. Does the BATF just make stuff up? But it’s been awhile, so who knows how much the BATF has butchered the law since.

    • Kevin Showler


  • Mhp Of-Spokane

    How in HELL does the BATF get to RULE on ANYTHING?!?! BATF is a POLICE/THUG organization with NO governing authority whatsoever!!! It’s time we the people put these thugs in their place! THEY ARE OUR EMPLOYEES!!! Their only responsibility is to protect our interests and OBEY THE GODDAMN LAW!!! “SHALL NOT BE INFRINGED” is as plain and simple as any phrase in the English language can get!!!

  • Robert Hempaz, PhD Trichometry

    Yeah…but, who kills more people? Drunks or tokers? RT @cannabuds: #Indie #GoGo ‘Medical Marijuana Initiative’. You can make a difference! C=> #GotTree? #Please #ReTweet

  • Oldtimemoonshine

    Important? Ya think? I dont wanna be that dispensary owner from California who was kidnapped and dragged off to the desert where they cut off his “dick” because they thought he had millions buried in the desert. Give us guns to protect our families, property, and our dicks!

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  • peck2

    Sheesh! Are we ever going to run out of crap to ignore? On my isolated 12 acres I live and do as I please. For your own safety, leave me alone.

  • guest

    All the racist (i.e. gun-nut) pot-heads are gonna be glad about this. I guess a Confederate Flag in the shape of a pot-leaf emblazoned rifle cover is in order?

  • sharpss

    I don’t think any marijuana user gives a shit about a law banning their ownership of a gun. This subject simply offers more proof of how ridiculous cannabis prohibition really is. How many medical marijuana users have turned in their guns because of this ban. Is there even one anywhere in the country? I think not.

  • Rob Hys

    How did they every take our right to chose from us. It took a constitutional amendment to take alcohol away. It seems to me all drug laws are unconstitutional and a restriction on my right to chose. Until we get our rights back the government will continue to attempt to decide what I can an can not do. The idea of free America died over 100 years ago when they began to control my right to decide for my self what I will eat, drink or do. All I need them to do is tell me what is in the products that are for sale. I’ll decide what I will buy.

  • j6j6321

    The ATF is an illegal, rogue agency created by a criminal psychopath (Richard Nixon). All ATF agents should be tried, convicted and jailed for violating the U.S. constitutional rights of the citizenry.

  • lilbear68

    nullification. learn it, love it and learn to use it