Know The Law: Medical Marijuana and Firearms

With well over half of the U.S. states allowing for the legal purchase of medical marijuana, there are still a number of individuals who could benefit from medical marijuana who are leery of how it affects other important rights that they hold dear. One such right is legal firearm ownership. It is no secret that millions of Americans intensely value their constitutional right to bear arms. Unfortunately, that right may be limited if you apply and obtain a medical marijuana card. Let’s take a look at how medical marijuana affects gun ownership, and what you can do to ensure that your rights are preserved.

Gun Ownership And Medical Marijuana

Imagine that you have a qualifying medical condition that permits you to obtain a card to legally purchase marijuana. As it is your right as an American, you later attempt to legally purchase a firearm only to discover that your medical marijuana card prohibits you from doing so. That is the reality that we live in. And the courts of continuously supported this position, despite the ridiculous legal acrobatics they engage in to reach this conclusion.

Medical marijuana card holders may be prohibited from gun ownership due to federal law. Specifically, under federal law, if you are addicted to marijuana or any other controlled substance, then you are not allowed to own a firearm. The reason: marijuana is considered by the federal government to be a controlled illegal substance. Marijuana use is deemed the illegal consumption of a controlled substance, so by being addicted to marijuana or other controlled substances, this means no guns for you according to the federal government.

Despite the litany of evidence suggesting that marijuana is a legitimate form of treatment, the law remains in effect to this day. In fact, because medical marijuana card recipients are logged into a federal database, any cardholder who applies for gun ownership is immediately flagged and their application is denied.

What About Recreational Users?

Ironically, federal law is silent on legal recreational users of marijuana and gun ownership. Because there is no federal database tracking recreational users, there does not appear to be a way for the federal government to know who a recreational user is. As a result, legal recreational marijuana users should have no issue legally obtaining a firearm. Critics see this as a clear shortcoming of the law and an unfair treatment of those medical marijuana users who take the drug for relief from a qualifying medical condition.

It should be noted that individuals with prior marijuana-based criminal convictions may also be barred for legal gun ownership. Additionally, any legal gun owner who subsequently commits a drug offense while carrying their firearm may be in violation of federal law and may have their right to bear arms rescinded.

Now that the Biden-Harris Administration is here, marijuana advocates are hopeful that there will be a change in federal law regarding cannabis and gun ownership.




Aaron Pelley

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