Interesting question…

From a new article at

Protection or Pain Treatment: Choosing Between Your Gun and Medical Marijuana

If you’ve ever filled out a Form 4473, you’re familiar with the Question 11e: “Are you an unlawful user of, or addicted to, marijuana or any depressant, stimulant, narcotic drug, or other controlled substance?” In case you thought there was any ambiguity with regard to medical marijuana, you were wrong. Indeed, there is a warning in bold right underneath the question that clarifies:

“Warning: The use or possession of marijuana remains unlawful under Federal law regardless of whether it has been legalized or decriminalized or for medicinal or recreational purposes in the state where you reside.”

The article is well thought out and discusses the facts of the current situation, including the fact that, while some states have made medical marijuana legal, FEDERALLY it is still illegal.

Full article, HERE.

While I can understand how people would want the law changed, if it were, it would only be a matter of time before alcoholics would be wanting to drink and carry. Personally, I’m against allowing it as I’ve dealt with both alcoholics and dopers when they were high. They BOTH exhibit unsafe behaviors and much like the DUI driving laws, there is no specification of ‘what’ influence you’re under when stopped.

Here’s a quick comparison of behaviors-

Alcohol- Other short-term effects include:

  • coordination and reflex issues
  • impaired cognitive skills
  • impaired judgment
  • relaxation
  • giddiness
  • drowsiness
  • restlessness
  • shorter attention span
  • nausea and vomiting

Marijuana- Short-term reported effects include:

  • altered perception of time
  • coordination and reflex issues
  • impaired cognitive skills
  • impaired judgment
  • relaxation (though it can also make others feel anxious)
  • giddiness
  • drowsiness
  • nausea
  • pain relief
  • dry mouth
  • dry, red eyes
  • increased hunger

YMMV, and feel free to disagree with me. I’m an old fart so I won’t be around much longer and y’all will have to deal with all this stuff…


Interesting question… — 32 Comments

  1. I don’t have a problem with mary jane users owning guns. Personally, I don’t think it’s any of the federal governments damn business what substances we choose to poison our bodies with. The Fedgov isn’t our mama.

    The important factor is timing. If you are impaired, you should not be using or operating dangerous equipment in public. It doesn’t matter what you are impaired by…lack of sleep can cause many of the same effects as alcohol or pot.

    That doesn’t mean you can’t own a car, or a chainsaw, or a Zamboni or a firearm if you take oxycontin for chronic pain…you just can’t use them in public when you are impaired. Seems like common sense to me.

  2. Having encountered both drunks and dopers… at least the drunks *can* truly sober up. I am unconvinced there is such a thing as genuine full recovery from doping. Sure, *adults* using MJ *occasionally* _might_ be alright… but I recall High School… and, well, it was obvious as all Hell why tobacco companies used to give away 4-packs of cigarettes in High Schools. (One thing from the Great Data Glom of the 1990’s Tobacco Settlement was that if some at any risk at all of nicotine addiction smoked *4* cigarettes *total* [not even all at once or close, *4* *total*] in their teenage year… addiction happened. Gee, they used to give away 4-packs in HS…huh.)

  3. I do remember reading that ATF decided to interpret a “recreational user” to mean “an addicted user” for the 4473. (They get to proclaim, and alter their definitions things by fiat, right? Is this an SBR, anyone?) This also means that when people share an apartment or a house, if you own a gun and live squeaky clean in all respects, and a pot-head moves in and gets into trouble with local limits on possession, or walks through the ‘gateway’ into illegal substances – YOU might end up getting your weapon seized if ‘things come down’ on him and LEOs get a warrant for the premises. The pot-head under your common roof puts YOUR rights to own effective means to protect yourself under a cloud. IANAL, but the same may go for if your roommates decide to host an illegal alien.

  4. Just the debate on the subject may qualify as hate speech under the new regime. So you go off to the camps for re-education for that?

  5. What’s the real difference between alcoholics and tokers? The drunk will run the stop sign, the toker will sit there and wait for it to turn green!

  6. On another topic but federal government related:

    The federal government has decreed mask wearing on all conveyances and at all transportation hubs. Reason Magazine is up in arms. OTOH, they were up in arms about making sure Trump didn’t get a second term but apparently they didn’t see this (or anything else Sleepy Joe has done in the pat two weeks) coming.

    I read them mostly for entertainment and links now.

  7. I have to go along with sailorcurt. Okay to use but don’t carry, drive, or go run a chain saw in a crowd when you are impaired. Having said that I will stick to alcohol, never tried marijuana and don’t really intend to. Scotch tastes too good.

  8. All- Thanks for the comments. Yes, common sense ‘should’ prevail, but we all know how THAT works out… sigh

    Posted from my iPhone.

  9. Frankly, I think we should decriminalize it and prepare for two generations of a lot of stupid, and deaths, before the culture shakes it off. Heavy pot users are usually unsafe, but on the other hand, there’s nothing stopping alcoholics (barring felony convictions) from carrying, and we don’t see blood in the streets from that, so we?

    And I knew plenty of people in Alaska who partook recreationally with about the same frequency as a glass of wine. Ending Prohibition didn’t turn us all into hardcore alcoholics, and I see no reason to punish the occasional tokers like they’re all Deadheads.

    The whole argument’s been used before on the “no carry in bars” laws, which, while eminently good sense for people who are drinking, as a law leads to a lot of muggings and murders by predators who know that their victims coming out of the bar – including the sober bartender with the cash purse – are going to be unarmed.

    In the end, do I think it’s a good idea to let the government abrogate anyone’s right of self-defense because they used a substance the government has decided it wants to ban?

    That’s a very, very slippery slope, and I tend to want to err on the side of not letting the government decide who can’t fight back against it.

  10. The big mistake was making “drugs” illegal at all back in the early part of 20th century. Like prohibition, all it did was create a permanent criminal underclass of suppliers and pushers. Until prohibition, was there really any huge problem with public drunks? Or ever any real problem with drug users?
    Government “solutions all too often create the problems they aim to solve.

    • So you’ve deliberately not studied the history?

      It is really not hard for interested persons to find this stuff.

      It can definitely be argued that the 19th century drys were incorrect, and blowing things out of proportion, but they existed, and had things they took as evidence in favor of their position.

      • I’ve read up on the origins of the drug laws, and grew up in Chicago, so have a small personal knowledge of what went on there in the 1920’s, also from my father who was a Chicago Police officer during the 1930’s.
        All my research found that that drug problems were minimal and could have been handled with existing laws if the users caused problems, and indeed, were largely driven by hatred of certain groups associated with certain drugs.
        Regardless of any actual widespread social problems with substances before those laws were enacted, it is obvious that those laws at the least created problems far in excess of the perceived social ills the were meant to fix.

    • And for all the badness of Prohibition, it did radically affect in a positive way the deaths from alcohol, both directly and indirectly. Before Prohibition (and coincidentally, safe clean water) we were a nation of drunks. Industrial accidents were high, and deaths by alcoholism were very high.

      Prohibition forced many people to pull back on the drinking.

  11. I don’t much care what you’re using or own in your home. I care a LOT if you are out endangering others. So do what you will at home and get yourself back to fully capable before venturing out.

  12. Mixed feelings. Living in Colorado, with legal pot, I see long lines outside all three stores within five miles of my apartment, even in lousy weather. Having Colorado plates on your vehicle means increased scrutiny by neighboring states LEO’s. Driving here hasn’t changed – keep you head on a swivel. Can’t prove it but cell phone users are more dangerous (and common) than drunks and stoners.

    Overall, I must agree with Sailorcurt.

  13. Y’all are being unsound optimists here.

    They want people using marijuana, because it impairs judgement, and disorders emotion, making the users seem like useful footsoldiers in the boog.

    Look at the whole pattern surrounding substance abuse, criminal activity, ‘criminal justice reform’, and charges of unjust police action. Not to mention the releases from prison.

    From Trayvon Martin to George Floyd is a clear pattern of political action, action intended to bring a profit.

    What should we take away from that? Not race nutjobbery, the media is hiding from us the number of blacks who are sane, sober, and middle class.

    Perhaps we should recognize that the drug use center of gravity may be outside of what can be the norms of civilization, and that it is intended to inflict the costs of the use on us non-users, sparing the users of accountability.

    Government force is also being to prevent vigilante execution of serial offender addicts who have too much permanent mental illness to care for themselves if they are released from prison.

    It may be that the government force being used to inhibit vigilantism is the government force that we should be concerned about letting the government apply arbitrarily and capriciously.

    More minor quibbles:
    Alcohol may not be a reliable proxy for other classes of chemical. There has been ‘blood in the street’ wrt alcohol, take a look at 19th century executions by tribal constabularies in indian territory. There’s a genetic element to impact of alcohol, and behavior while drunk apparently has a cultural element. This stuff is complicated, we can’t just argue a parallel with partial pressures of gases in chemistry. For modern situations, spree shootings are probably not as independent of substance use as people would have you believe. (Paddock/Las Vegas is still claimed as unexplained, despite people having let slip that he had been given an anti-anxiety medication.)

  14. Well. My bro’s a stoner, and former military. He has a collection of firearms. He also makes a point of not being impaired in any way, whatsoever, when handling his firearms. We haven’t seen a jump in general stupidity with MJ being legal, other than people being a lot more mellow–we get more angry drunks than angry stoners. I tend to fall along the lines of the State needing to stop being everyone’s nagging nanny, and letting Darwin take it’s course.

    • Obama, Harris, possibly Biden.

      At 20, their current level of brain damage would not have developed.

      You don’t need a majority of users to develop into serial abusers and sexual predators for users developing that way to be a problem.

      Saying that people are fine in the early stages ignores that the problem may be advanced stages in combination with political power.

      If there was a reliable way to keep certain people from political power, legal use might be defensible. Options are a) keep it illegal, and hope (futilely) that criminal record keeps them from power b) accept the cost of maniacs in power c) kill them all.

      Talking about getting the state out of private business, and letting Darwin taking its course assume things that are not true. 1. Rule of law is gone. There is no stable basis for public policy. 2. You will not be permitted a policy that makes druggies pay the price of their choice to get high. The folks in power hate those who do not partake, and are doing their best to inflict costs on them.

  15. One thing about TCH and its relatives and their active metabolites is that they tend to accumulate in the body’s fat stores.

    The bottom line from that is that a single heavy dose can persist in the tissues for days at potentially significant psychoactive levels. Use the stuff a few times a week, and it’s never going to completely go away.

    Another thing is that they act by means of specific receptors on cells in the central nervous system and all over the body. These receptors have multiple genetic variants, and their number and activity are controlled in a very complex manner that interacts with other similarly complex systems.

    That means that a field sobriety test equivalent isn’t nearly as easy to devise as it is with alcohol, and lab tests are going to be less easy to correlate with impairment, especially at lower test levels.

    Alcohol is a much simpler drug. Many years ago a study was done using flight simulators comparing the effects of alcohol and cannabis. What they found with cannabis was that simple tasks and few inputs were handled OK, but that the more complex the task was, the more performance suffered. With alcohol, the simple tasks suffered as well.

    Even with proving alcohol impairment being simpler, there are way too many drunks on the roads.

    If there were draconian penalties for the first DUI and prison for a second one, ifa lot more drugs were tested for and included in “DUI” then we might save a bunch of lives. But we’re not going to do that.

    That said, putting cannabis on Schedule I is insane. It’ll come off as soon as patentable cannabis drugs are released, and they will have cognitive “side effects” that impair driving etc. but because the drugs add to Big Pharma’s bottom line, those impairments will drop off the radar.

    @Charles Kuecker: Yes, there were problems with public drunks and drug users. However, there is a difference between paregoric, laudanum, and crude opium on the one hand–which is what there were up until the mid to late 19th century– and heroin or morphine on the other, let alone synthetics like fentanyl. A lot of the wreckage of the Civil War involved chronic pain and opiate addiction. And opium had to be imported. (The big differences between the crude drugs like opium and laudanum and purified extracts like morphine were dosing precision, and ease of use.)

    There’s likewise a big difference between coca leaves on the one hand, and cocaine and the various amphetamines.

    Technologies like hypodermic syringes were another factor. They used to be somewhat expensive.

    And there’s a huge difference between street weed in the ’60s and the stuff that’s out there now.

    Other related factors:
    people used to die a lot younger anyway
    there wasn’t much of a social safety net
    there used to be more menial jobs that people could do and make some kind of a living from.

    • Yeah, the history of the technical development is pretty key context.

      Forex, spread of spirit distillation in a much earlier period.

      19th century, we have to understand the implications of the industrial revolution in general and rapid advances in chemistry in particular.

      People had a reason for what they did, even if it was not a good one. (One of their assumptions was that everyone is equally susceptible to alcoholism. Which isn’t true, there are definitely genetic components.)

      We have a lot of chemicals available now, that were not available in the past at current prices, volumes and concentrations. So prior history of not having a problem with chemical Y is not a useful basis for forecasting.

    • Hrmmm… sounds kinda like bromide sedatives.
      They worked – but at a cost. The therapeutic effect was short, but the “biological half-life” was long – and the effects filled asylums. Luckily the treatment was trivially simple: Stop it!

  16. Well, gonna toss in the age-old argument that the pot today is not the ditch-weed pot of the 60’s and 70’s. Back then, marijuana overdose was so uncommon that almost nobody outside of some hospitals in heavy stoner areas ever saw marijuana overdoses.

    But today? Marijuana is so strong that overdoses are possible and happen frequently (just talk to your local ER personnel.)

    Add the strength of the pot to the increased use by younger, still developing brain tissue, individuals, either willingly or unwillingly (there is a branch of stupid humans that thinks it’s funny to fill a room full of pot smoke, much like a fog bank, and have babies and young children stagger through the smoke) and you’re messing up a lot of ‘kids.’

    It’s the difference between beer and Vodka. Sure, drinking a 24 pack of beer is bad, but one’s body can usually handle it. Drinking 2 bottles of vodka a day? Not so much.

    Then there’s the whole ‘medical marijuana’ thingy. It’s been proven since the 60’s that the THC is not very theraputic, especially when smoked. It’s the CBD, when ingested, that ‘tends’ to be useful in medicine. So what can you buy at the ‘medical marijuana’ stores? Uber THC products… Yeah.

    As I have witnessed from my apartment door, I am much more likely to condone stupid foolish alcohol usage than heavy marijuana usage. Of the one death and several stabbings in my complex, none have been from drink and all have been related to heavy use by marijuana.

    Though, no matter how screwed up you are, on booze, pot, coke, meth, whatever, my heart still comes back to the last 4 words of the 2nd Amendment.

    Though (part deux) I do support hammering the living dogsqueeze over anyone who is altered and commits a crime. The act of getting altered, to me, shows intent to commit a crime (by not giving a copulation about one’s actions while altered) so, again, to me, doing crimes when altered should be an enhancement, not an excuse for an easier sentence or lesser penalty.

    • As utterly messed up (and methed up…) as My Methylated* Neighbors are, they do seem to at least keep to themselves, save for over-loud (and vulgar, and low-imagination vulgarity at that) arguments.

      * Yes, I know am abusing the term.

    • For most people using CBD for pain and anxiety, an admixture of THC seems to help. For my mother, the sweet spot seemed to be about 15-18:1 CBD:THC. Others seem to prefer more THC. Here in the environs of Oaktown, you can get all the above and more in smokable, vape, edible, capsules, and liquid extracts.

      From what’s already come down the pike, cannabis research looks like it will do almost as much for our understanding of nervous system/immune and neuroendocrine physiology as AIDS research did for our understanding of the immune system.

  17. The town I lived in for 33 years has a number of weederies. Where I live now, a rural area, I’m unaware of any. I drank beer and liquor when I was in the AF, but tapered off after retirement. That was 34 years ago.

  18. All- Some interesting perspectives. Thank you and thank you for keeping the discussion civil!

    Posted from my iPhone.

  19. > it would only be a matter of time before alcoholics would be wanting to drink and carry.

    Perfectly legal in my state. (Arkansas)

    Also note that the 4473 only applies to people purchasing firearms from an FFL. Private sales don’t require a 4473, or even official sanction other than a few shithole states. And as far as I know, no state prohibits drug or alcohol users from owning firearms, though they may restrict where they may carry them.

    Using my state as an example, you can lawfully stagger around blind drunk with as many guns as you can carry, including bars, *unless* you have a concealed carry permit, in which case you’re prohibited… well, it’s politics, not logic.

  20. I’m no puritan by any stretch of the imagination, but don’t act out with firearms. Back in the days of being able to buy ammo people would get it on and shoot skeet etc. Not a good idea.

  21. Many years ago, Car&Driver ran a test of MJ users on a training course. They used the exact same setup as they did for alcohol. Their results were a bit unexpected, IIRC. All the drivers made a sober baseline run, and then proceeded to indulge between track forays. The unexpected findings was that some of the participants scores increased! Some of the participants were experienced users, and some had little exposure to weed. They ended the test when the drivers got lost when they went out for another test round. Couldn’t find the car after walking out of the office. I don’t recall any of them failing the DUI test track maneuvers.

    • IIRC, they concluded that the increasing scores were probably due to the relaxing properties of the weed. They got quicker and smoother to the changing conditions.
      Lots of normal drivers are uptight on the road, typically from feeling that they are not as safe as they would like to be. Most drivers are not well trained here in the US, and the lack of vehicle control is probably noted by the subconscious.

  22. I don’t disagree that common sense seems to be in short supply in today’s society, but the bottom line is the laws won’t change that.

    I’ve been a member of the gun owning community for a long time and, in my experience, responsible, lawful gun owners won’t do anything to jeopardize their legal ability to exercise their rights and defend themselves and their families. The people who don’t have that proclivity are going to do what they’re going to do regardless.

    Meaning, if you make owning a firearm illegal for users of cannabis, the only ones you’re affecting are the ones for whom it wouldn’t matter anyway.

    It’s no different than putting a “no guns allowed” sign on the door of a business. The only people you’re keeping out are the ones who care about the sign, and those are exactly the ones you wouldn’t have needed to worry about in the first place.

    The ones who lack common sense and would carry under the influence, are going to do that regardless of other laws regarding gun ownership by users.

    As far as the dangers of smoking pot or ingesting any other poison into your body. My response is…so?

    There are plenty of risky behaviors that can be bad for your health, but are still personal decisions and are none of the government’s damn business. Obesity causes way more health issues in this country than pot smoking…you gonna outlaw that too? “You are under arrest for possession of cheeseburgers with the intent to distribute.”

    Call it the libertarian in me, but the predilection of so many people to want…no…NEED…to tell everyone else how to live their lives is a mystery to me.

    For the record: I do not consume illicit substances of any kind. In fact, I rarely drink alcohol, I resist prescription medications unless there is a dire need, and I’m not even a big fan of over the counter medicine. But just because those are the choices I make doesn’t mean I think that gives me the authority to dictate my choices onto anyone else. If you want to toke yourself into terminal stupidity, it’s no skin off my ass…just don’t come crying to me for salvation when you lose your job because you can’t clearly enunciate “would you like fries with that?” Also not my business.

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