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Send lawyers, guns, and money. The shit has hit the fan.*

In this business, you need a lawyer. You need money. Guns . . . not so much.

When I was 12 or so, my dad taught me to shoot cans with a .22. It was fun enough; I managed to put a few holes in a few soup cans. And that was about it. Even though all the males in my family had (and have) guns for collecting, target-practice, and hunting, I never thought much about it.

Today, I’m a city girl and have no interest in guns. My grown son, on the other hand, has a side business selling gun parts and is keen on shooting. Many of my clients have firearms to to protect their crops and cash.** And, of course, Mainers love to hunt. So, I get that people have all kinds of reasons for having guns.

In the cannabis industry, though, guns can be a problem.

Under federal law, any person who carries a deadly weapon while trafficking in an illegal drug (which includes marijuana, even state-legal marijuana) can be sentenced to a minimum of 5 additional years on top of the trafficking charges. If the person shows the gun, the additional sentence is at least 7 years. If the firearm goes off, the sentence increases by at least 10 years. Here’s a link to the Federal Sentencing Guidelines for firearms offenses if you want to know more:

The federal government considers medical marijuana caregivers to be trafficking in illegal drugs simply by providing marijuana to patients. Though it currently doesn’t go after caregivers who are compliant under state law, if the caregiver runs afoul of the law and the feds come in and find guns, well, shit hits the fan.

On top of that, “unlawful users of or addicts to a controlled substance” cannot possess a firearm. This language gives lawyers fits because it’s so vague. Generally, though, courts look at how recently and how often the person has used marijuana in deciding whether the gun possession violates federal law. If you want to see some of the law and the ATF’s position on this, follow these links:;;

I don’t know of any cases where people selling or using marijuana legally under state law have been charged and convicted only for owning a firearm. It’s more likely that you would be breaking other laws and the firearms charges would be on top of the other things.***

I can’t tell you that it’s okay to have firearms if you use or sell marijuana. It’s not. I also recognize the reality that enforcement is uneven and almost every caregiver and lots of patients have guns.

It’s Maine, bub.

My real-world advice? To take away any worry, don’t have firearms. If you want to take the risk anyway, stay completely compliant so that law enforcement has no reason to come in.

* That’s a Warren Zevon song.

** By the way, Maine is not a stand-your-ground state. You can’t use deadly force to protect property.

*** There are some new 2nd Amendment case that may change things. We'll see.

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