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Old December 14, 2012, 12:14 PM   #8
Frank Ettin
Join Date: November 23, 2005
Location: California - San Francisco
Posts: 8,702
Marijuana and a self defense shooting raises a number of issues.
  1. As others have pointed out, a positive test for any substance that effects judgment or perception could be used to challenge your self defense claim. Even if, under applicable state law, a prosecutor must disprove your self defense claim after you've put on evidence constituting a prima facie, case of self defense, the less convincing you are the easier it will be for the prosecutor to meet his burden. So evidence of possible impairment won't help you.

    Marijuana might be less problematic in this regard than alcohol. Evidence of marijuana use takes much longer than alcohol to be fully metabolized and no longer detectable.

  2. But also, a user of marijuana is, under federal law, an unlawful user of a controlled substance and therefore prohibited from having possession of a gun (18 USC 922(g)(3)).

  3. So while someone who used marijuana several days before successfully defending himself with a gun might win on his self defense claim, he could still be facing a federal felony charge of being a prohibited person in possession of a gun.
"It is long been a principle of ours that one is no more armed because he has possession of a firearm than he is a musician because he owns a piano. There is no point in having a gun if you are not capable of using it skillfully." -- Jeff Cooper
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