You probably know that, under Maine law, you (an adult over age 21) can use marijuana in your private home. You may even know that you can legally possess 2.5 ounces of marijuana, and legally grow 6 flowering marijuana plants and 12 nonflowering plants. And hopefully you know that while you can give your marijuana away, it’s illegal to sell it.
Here’s what you may not know: Under federal law, marijuana is still categorized as a Schedule I drug. This is the same category as heroin, and even more restrictive than cocaine (a Schedule II drug).
What does this mean for you?
It means that under federal law, if you use marijuana, you may not lawfully possess, buy, sell, or transfer a firearm. If you have marijuana and you also have your grandfather’s antique pistol in your home, you are committing a felony under federal law. If your neighbor gives you his rifle and he knows you possess marijuana, you are both committing a felony under federal law. If you attempt to purchase a firearm and you do not answer truthfully to Question 11e on Form 4473 about marijuana use, you are committing a felony under federal law. If you feel unsafe in your home and protect yourself with a gun instead of a knife, while possessing marijuana, you are committing a felony under federal law.
It also means that you may not lawfully possess marijuana on federal property. For example, if you’re caught bringing your marijuana to work at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, you’ll probably lose your job, and likely your security clearance. If you’re convicted of possessing marijuana after you’ve been pulled over for a broken taillight at Acadia National Park, you’ll at least pay a fine; if it happens twice, you’ll probably go to jail.
While most drug enforcement operations outside of federal land are run by state and local authorities, in February 2017 the Trump Administration suggested that it may begin to more strongly enforce federal marijuana laws in an effort to curb the heroin and opioid epidemic. Whether you agree or disagree with this approach, if you possess marijuana, you need to be aware of the risks.
If you are charged with a marijuana possession crime, call us. We can help.