By Major Van Harl USAF Ret
Wisconsin --(Ammoland.com)- When I was a Colorado Ranger we had to deal with medical marijuana and the nice friendly folks (read stoned) using it on the streets of Colorado.
There were all kinds of restrictions on the public use of marijuana, but this did not stop the users from consuming it out in the open. To be quite honest if you were in law enforcement in Colorado you got tired of wasting your time trying to enforce the marijuana laws, so there was a tendency (unofficially of course) to not look real hard for violators.
Now Colorado has recreational marijuana and all bets are off.
People are smoking and toking in public. They love to have their drug usage videoed, to share this experience with the internet world. Creating permanent (nothing goes away online) documentation of their Federal violation of multiple drug laws that could mean prison time.
“What do I care about the Feds man, smoking marijuana is legal in Colorado and I have a state right to do it” says Tommy Toker and future firearms buyer.
Are you an unlawful user of, addicted to, marijuana or any depressant, stimulant, narcotic drug, or any other controlled substance?
On the ATF Form 4473 section 11, line “e” you will find the above question.
For you marijuana smoking, non-gun people who may in your future life want to legally purchase a firearm, the Form 4473 is the Federal Firearms Transaction Record Part I that you fill out when you buy a firearm at a gun shop.
Back in my old Air Force police days there was a standing trick the military lawyers (JAG) like to use with unsuspecting Airmen who committed crimes, but JAG just could not prove their guilt in a court of law. The system would get the Airman to write out an official statement on a government form about what they alleged they did not do. Have them sign the form with witnesses and then send them home feeling they had won the day. Later when the military justice system could not get a hard conviction for Airman Billy’s crimes, JAG would pull out the form he lied on and charge him with falsifying an official government document. Then they would make lying dumb-ass Airman Billy’s life miserable with jail time or a back conduct discharge (BCD) (that follows you all your life). They might try to get him to roll over on his fellow Airman with promises of leniency. Leniency only comes from the JAG until they are done “using you” and then you still get your BCD.
But Tommy the civilian Toker was too smart to ever join the Air Force and get caught up in the military justice system. He lives in Colorado and loves to post pictures on social networking outlets of him legally smoking marijuana. He attends a liberal arts college in the Denver area and becomes a financial advisor for some make-your-money-grow company.
With his new found affluence in the money game he decides to start legally buying some firearms at the local gun store. He even applies for his Colorado conceal carry permit. While filling out the proper paper work for both the purchases of the firearms and the conceal carry application, he is asked repeatedly in writing if he has ever illegally used marijuana and of course he states in his own hand writing that “no” he has never used marijuana.
Does the phrase “got-you” come to mind yet?
Tommy the Colorado Toker’s financial investment company is now under Federal investigation and the Feds need someone to spy for them who is on the inside. With a little bit of internet research they discover that Tommy is a proud public user of Federally mandated illegal drugs (don’t matter what the State of Colorado says) and upon further investigation they discover the drug using violator known as Tommy has lied multiple times on Federal documents about his alleged non-drug use—there it is the “got-you” phrase.
Wait a minute, is there not that picture of a young black man proudly smoking grass out there on line and did not that person become the President of the Unite States?
Is it not under his current leadership that the Feds are looking the other way when it comes to Colorado marijuana laws?
So why is it, Colorado Toker Tommy is headed to prison if he does not play ball with the Feds for something that is supposed to be legal in his home state?
Never forget the Feds always trump the States, just as the Uniform Code of Military Justice will always beat out Airman Billy, even when they cannot get a hard conviction in a military court room. Fraudulently signing a government document that means little or nothing to you, can and will come back to harm you.
Gun owners and future gun owners of Colorado, Cqalifornia and now Washington State need to be very careful. Also all the drug-vacationers who are pouring in from out of state to Colorado had better be prudent about what they post online. If you legally buy a firearm in Oklahoma after legally smoking marijuana in Colorado, this could get you a Federal violation conviction. Do you feel lucky?
Major Van Harl USAF Ret.
About Major Van Harl USAF Ret.:Major Van E. Harl USAF Ret., a career Police Officer in the U.S. Air Force was born in Burlington, Iowa, USA, in 1955. He was the Deputy Chief of police at two Air Force Bases and the Commander of Law Enforcement Operations at another. He is a graduate of the U.S. Army Infantry School. A retired Colorado Ranger and currently is an Auxiliary Police Officer with the Cudahy PD in Milwaukee County, WI. His efforts now are directed at church campus safely and security training. He believes “evil hates organization.” firstname.lastname@example.org