The issue of medical marijuana patients and their gun rights has come up quite a few times here at The Marijuana Times. The seeming disconnect between ailing citizens of the United States having to choose between using a safer alternative to deadly and addictive prescription drugs to treat their ailments and their Second Amendment rights under the Constitution strikes many as unnecessary and against everything this republic supposedly stands for.

Now comes news that between February 22, 2015 and March 10, 2017, five men allegedly bought firearms from gun dealers in Maine after giving false information as to whether or not they use cannabis. Four of the men have pleaded not guilty to the charges and are free on bail until their next hearing in U.S. District Court in Bangor, while the fifth man will be arraigned on May 4th.

The charges allege that each of these men knowingly lied about their “unlawful” marijuana use when filling out the federal firearm applications; one would have to assume that prosecutors have some sort of proof that these men were indeed using marijuana at the time of the purchases.

Federal Form 4473 asks “Are you an unlawful user of, or addicted to, marijuana or any depressant, stimulant, narcotic drug, or any other controlled substance?” If that wasn’t plain enough, last year the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) added “Warning: The use or possession of marijuana remains unlawful under Federal law regardless of whether it has been legalized or decriminalized for medicinal or recreational purposes in the state where you reside.”

As with so many roadblocks that spring up to thwart marijuana law reform, this one could be fixed by simple changes in federal cannabis law. No matter what states and other local jurisdictions do regarding their own marijuana policies, the dark cloud that is federal marijuana prohibition hangs over it all, keeping the full potential of the legal cannabis industry bottled up and keeping cannabis users suspended in some form of limbo of illegality.

For those who want to do more to support changes in marijuana law at the federal level, NORML keeps a handy list of action items on their website, a place where you can easily contact your federal representatives about various pieces of legislation. There has never been a more opportune time to let your voice be heard in Washington D.C. when it comes to cannabis policy.