There has been a ton of buzz in lately about the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) stand on marijuana. With 24 states now saying it is cannabis is fully legal and 40 having medical marijuana, the public is reevaluating how it approaches the drug. An estimated 88% of Americans are for some form of legalization and only 10% are against. Yet it faces huge hurdles including the ATF holding it to a different standard than alcohol.
So how is this different than the other big intoxicant alcohol? Drug possession is still the number one cause of arrest. The highest number of arrests were for all drugs (estimated at 1,552,432 arrests) followed by driving under the influence (estimated at 1,282,957).
Drivers accused or convicted of misdemeanor DUI do not face a loss of their right to purchase, own, and possess a firearm. There are exceptions, if you have 3 or more DUIs, if you have felony DUI (felony DUI charges are ones that result in injury or death), or if the DUI is part of a package of other crimes you have committed.
Under a decades old law from 1968, ATF asserted users of marijuana remain barred from purchasing and possessing guns. This inlcudes states who have legalized recreational they.
Until marijuana is legalized on a federal level, users of cannabis will continue to be prohibited from shipping, transporting, receiving or possessing firearms and ammunition, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, or ATF, said in a notice.
So to be clear, you must be convicted 3 time with an alcohol DUI to lose your gun rights OR be caught casually consuming cannabis. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism estimates that 25-30% of violent crimes in the United States are linked to the use of alcohol. According to a report from the U.S. Dept. of Justice, that translates to about 5,000,000 alcohol-related violent crimes per year. By contrast, the government does not even track violent acts specifically related to marijuana use, as the use of marijuana has not been associated with violence.
Medical Marijuana, according to the government, is also helpful for the treatment of pain and some disease. But if you are patient that consumes, the ATF says you are lose your Second Amendment right.
Government and bureaucracies are slow to change. It is a bipartisan issue with states like Missouri, Montana and Arizona with legal weed, so it it should be treated more fair.