The Department of Justice has issued a new advisory requiring gun dealers in one state to conduct federal background checks on all unlicensed gun buyers because existing policies, the government argues, have enabled “habitual marijuana users” and other disqualified individuals to obtain firearms illegally.
Though cannabis is legal for adults under Michigan state law, it remains a restricted Schedule I drug under the federal Controlled Substances Act. Consequently, consumers of marijuana have been forbidden from purchasing or possessing firearms.
Tuesday’s advisory from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) rescinds a 2006 provision that allowed Michigan gun dealers to accept a state-concealed pistol license (CPL) in lieu of conducting a federal background check. ATF says that, according to information from the FBI and other officials, concealed carry permits are being issued to people “without a determination by Michigan officials as to whether the applicant is prohibited under Federal law from possessing or transporting firearms.”
“Specifically, ATF learned that CPLs were and continue to be issued to applicants who were likely prohibited due to a conviction for a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence… and to habitual marijuana users,” the advisory says. “Although possession and use of marijuana is not unlawful under Michigan law, marijuana remains a ‘controlled substance’ under Federal law, and those using marijuana are prohibited from possessing or transporting a firearm.”