How Legal Medical Marijuana Consumption in the “Sportsman’s Paradise” Can Lead to Incarceration
The State of Louisiana has one of the highest incarceration rates in the United States.
Black people in Louisiana are about 3 times as likely as white people to be arrested for marijuana possession, despite evidence that Black people and white people use marijuana at similar rates. Incarceration can have negative effects on a person’s ability to obtain: housing, financial assistance, loans, real estate, and employment.
Medical marijuana is legal in Louisiana, but only with a doctor’s recommendation. Under Louisiana state law, possession of marijuana, absent a doctor’s recommendation, is illegal. Even with a recommendation, patients of legal medical marijuana consumption face the risk of severe federal penalties. Under Federal law, the possession of a legal firearm in the presence of marijuana is illegal. Louisiana law permitting medical use, does not trump federal law. Many gun owners are often face with the difficult decision of choosing their gun rights over their right to heal and treat with state legal medical marijuana.
Louisiana is considered “The Sportsman’s Paradise” and is known for hunting and gun shows, many Louisiana citizens can face dire federal consequences and penalties. In order to purchase a firearm from a federally licensed dealer, an individual must complete Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF) Form 4473, which asks if you are an “unlawful user of, or addicted to, marijuana,” and includes a warning that the recreational and medical use of cannabis under state law does not alter the federal Controlled Substances Act which makes it illegal to possess, manufacture, or distribute marijuana. It is also illegal to lie on the ATF Form 4473 about your medical marijuana consumption. It is important to note that law enforcement or prosecution can subpoena or obtain your medical records, which would include medical marijuana recommendations.
Firearms, albeit legal, and medical marijuana consumption are a potential cocktail for incarceration. Until the federal government legalizes marijuana, I urge you all to choose either the gun or the medicine, but not both.