Marijuana, whether for medical or recreational purposes, is being legalized in many states across the country. Recreational uses have less protections, but the question of whether Medical Marijuana users should be allowed to own or possess firearms is at the forefront. According to the Federal government, it is illegal regardless of whether certain state laws, such as those in Pennsylvania may have legalized it.
As 2018 begins, many laws are starting to take hold across the country. In Pennsylvania, one such law is that Medical Marijuana is now legal with a MM card and Doctors prescription. More than 10,000 Pennsylvanians have registered so far to receive a medical marijuana card.
But they are finding out that they can’t receive medical cannabis and still be able to legally purchase a firearm. That’s because under federal law all types of marijuana, including medical cannabis, are prohibited WESA.fm reports.
“The people who signed up to receive medical marijuana will be on a registry that licensed gun dealers will have to reference as part of the background check process before selling a weapon.
“People should not have to make that choice,” said Gov. Tom Wolf, who acknowledged gun sale regulations are a “federal thing.” The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives regulates the sale of firearms.
Gun rights advocates received a legal setback in September 2016 when the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the federal ban on the sale of guns to medical marijuana card holders does not violate the Second Amendment. That ruling applies to the nine states in the court’s jurisdiction.
According to the governor, the Pennsylvania State Police do not advise that if people receive medical marijuana they get rid of their guns. However, if they have questions about gun ownership and applying for medical marijuana, they should consult with their attorneys.
The one thing Wolf was clear on is that the state will not be seeking out those who already own guns.
“We’re not going to take their guns away,” Wolf said.”
With the increase in legalization of Medical Cannabis and cannabis based therapies across the nation, the lines between what your Doctor prescribes and what the ATF deems legal carry and ownership of a firearm become quite askew.
Anyone who has purchased a legal firearm will tell you, that on the form 4473, there is a section on drug use. Answering Yes to it, is an immediate denial of sale and the firearm transaction is then null and void.
In order to legally purchase a firearm in the United States, an individual must complete a Firearms Transaction Record (form 4473). Question 11(e) on this form asks:
“Are you an unlawful user of, or addicted to, marijuana or any depressant, stimulant, narcotic drug, or any other controlled substance?”
Even though Medical Cannabis is being legalized, the ATF, DEA, FDA and the Federal Government still classify Marijuana as a Schedule 1 narcotic. Thus, if you have a Medical Marijuana (MM) card, you are not allowed to own a firearm.
The Federal government designates cannabis, it’s seeds, and derivatives as a Schedule I controlled substance.
The Controlled Substances Act (CSA) states that chemicals of this class and designation have “no accepted medicinal use” and can’t be used safely even under the supervision of a physician.
According to VenicCare.com, in October 2016, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives amended the Form 4473 to add the following to Question 11(e):
Warning: The use or possession of marijuana remains unlawful under Federal law regardless of whether it has been legalized or decriminalized for medicinal or recreational purposes in the state where you reside.
Last year, the 9th Federal Circuit Court has upheld the ATF’s interpretation on possession of a medical marijuana card as “intermediate proof” that you have no right to possess, transfer or purchase firearms and ammunition.
The 9th Circuit in its 3-0 decision said Congress reasonably concluded that marijuana and other drug use “raises the risk of irrational or unpredictable behavior with which gun use should not be associated.”
Basically stating that even though it has been legalized, if you opt for a cannabis based therapy to treat an ailment that afflicts you, you have given up your Right to legally own a firearm.
There are some states that allow both a CCW and a MM permit to coexist with a legal firearm owner.
You make the call. Should medical marijuana use prohibit individuals from owning or possessing firearms? What are the laws in your state? Share your answers in the comment section.
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Tillman Bennett says
Marijuana use is no different than anything else that could impair one’s ability to safely use firearms. We need to examine what this law is attempting to accomplish. I personally don’t feel someone who uses marijuana responsibly is any more a danger than a responsible alcohol drinker, or even someone who has prescription drugs which could impair them or cause changes in behavior. Part of responsible gun ownership is being aware of when your judgement could be impaired and putting the guns away. Hell, forget guns for a minute, that’s just part of being a responsible adult, if you’re not safe to do something because you got drunk/high/took something that makes you loopy, a responsible adult needs to put away the car keys, the guns, and maybe wait until tomorrow to practice chainsaw juggling, etc. I met plenty of people who are a danger to themselves and others while stone sober because they lack anything resembling good judgement, yet there is nothing to prevent them from purchasing firearms on that merit, sadly.