Marijuana legalization has been complicated. Federally, it is illegal. In many states, including South Dakota, it is legal only for medical purposes. But there are also many states, such as Michigan, Illinois, and Colorado, where marijuana is legal for recreational purposes. Buying marijuana products is the same as buying a six-pack of beer or a bottle of wine.
However, this legalization on different levels can have an impact on people’s rights. For instance, you may have heard that marijuana users aren’t legally allowed to own firearms in the United States. Is this true?
It is prohibited by federal law
Under federal law, it is still illegal for someone who uses marijuana to possess a firearm. This is according to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF), which released a statement on it in 2011. They specifically pointed out that there are no exceptions to this, even if the state allows medical use.
That being said, South Dakota has a law that is directly written counter to this, saying that someone who is a medical card holder cannot legally be stopped from owning a gun because of that use. This is to preserve the Second Amendment rights of South Dakota citizens who are using marijuana to treat a wide range of medical conditions, as is done across much of the country.
To add another layer to the confusion, though, state laws are generally assumed to be superseded by federal laws. So someone may have the legal right to buy a firearm in South Dakota, but are they still going to run into issues with the federal regulations, which they are technically breaking if they use marijuana products?
All of this gets very complicated. Those who are facing serious charges must understand their legal defense options.