Medical Marijuana and Gun Ownership: What You Need to Know

Everything You Need to Know About Medical Marijuana and Gun Ownership

The United States holds dearly the right to bear arms, but recent years and laws over the past few decades have created varying levels of gun control in particular circumstances. If you’re looking to get your medical marijuana card, you want to know the general information about gun ownership while certified to use medical marijuana and carrying a weed card, as well as whether it is legal, illegal, or a grey area in your area.

Federal Legality and State Enforcement

As many people know, marijuana is still classified at the federal level as an illegal drug, in spite of individual states choosing to legalize and decriminalize marijuana in various places with medical weed.

Because of this, the federal level standard would be that you cannot use marijuana and operate a firearm legally. That being said, the federal level enforcement of this law, like much of marijuana legality, is generally deferred to individual states to create policy and enforcement.

There have been different levels of enforcement attempts when it comes to the connection between federal marijuana prohibition and federal firearms prohibition for people who use illegal substances.

In some states, for instance, there has been an attempt to get patients who received a medical marijuana card to turn in previously-purchased legal guns, while other states simply have two separate systems, one that registers gun owners and one that registers medical marijuana patients, with no reason why the two systems would talk to each other. 

Be aware that these laws can change, since some of the landmark legislation on this matter was created in 2019 or more recently. Your best bet is to double-check any information with the information on your state’s medical marijuana website. 

When you apply for a medical marijuana card in your home state and seek a doctor certification through Green Mind Physician, you want to know how it impacts your ability to own a firearm legally. Here are some notes on the legislation in each of the states where we operate.

Gun Ownership and Medical Marijuana in Illinois

The laws are in place in Illinois (specifically, federal laws) to enforce taking away Firearm Owners Identification from those who are recreational users or medical marijuana patients. That being said, the Illinois State Police has explained that they draw a distinction between “addicted and habitual users” and those who happen to use cannabis or have a medical marijuana card.

It’s a definite grey area in a state with many gun owners and many people interested in medical marijuana. 

Gun Ownership and Medical Marijuana in Oklahoma

Oklahoma has passed a clarification law called the Unity Law that states that being a medical marijuana patient will not prevent someone from access to their 2nd amendment rights to purchase firearms. While, like every state, there are restrictions on when and where guns can be carried, those laws apply to everyone, rather than just medical marijuana patients.

Gun Ownership and Medical Marijuana in Maryland

While attempts are being made to change gun laws, currently Maryland is one of the places where the law is fairly clear that purchasing a gun as a medical marijuana patient is illegal and the consequences of lying about your medical marijuana status can be severe. While there appears to be little way for someone to access the HIPAA-protected nature of the medical marijuana application process, the illegality of gun ownership is made fairly straightforward in this state.

Gun Ownership and Medical Marijuana in Michigan

As in other states, gun purchase is a grey area, since you have to fill out a federal form that asks if you are an ‘unlawful user’ of a controlled substance. Since the state law says you are a lawful user, and the federal law says otherwise, this grey area is still up for debate and could receive continued clarifications over time. Lawyers point out that operating a firearm while under the influence of marijuana is illegal, but just being a cardholder doesn’t disqualify you.

One consideration in the Michigan medical marijuana law is the idea that medical users cannot be denied the rights and privileges that other citizens have. Given the 2nd amendment right to bear arms is so dearly held, there is room to debate whether medical marijuana cardholders are losing a privilege if they cannot purchase firearms like others in their communities.

Gun Ownership and Medical Marijuana in Oregon

The laws themselves at the Oregon state level do not prohibit gun ownership or purchase. That being said, purchasing a gun would require you to fill out the same gun purchase form where you’ll be asked if you use controlled substances, which marijuana is at the federal level, so be prepared for the wording of that form, which is a federal-level form. That being said, just holding the medical marijuana card is not considered a reason to deny a concealed carry license in Oregon, so you can see how the law and legal precedent is deeply murky.

The Bottom Line: Gun Rights and Medical Marijuana Cards

Much like the opinions on medical marijuana and weed cards have changed in the United States, with legislation slowly following, the attitudes about the use of medical marijuana and possession of firearms are changing. Some legal precedents at the local and state level affirm that being prescribed a medical treatment like marijuana shouldn’t strip someone of their gun rights. 

On the other hand, until the federal laws change about marijuana’s classification as a Schedule 1 drug, possession and use of a firearm as a cannabis user will technically be illegal. In most cases, this would extend to conceal and carry being illegal as well, though again, different states are enforcing this in different ways.  

We hope this helps you understand the state of flux that gun ownership and medical marijuana cards are in at this time. Pay attention to how your state is responding to the grey areas of these laws, and you’ll be in a better position to make smart choices about your health and personal safety. 

Doctor Lee’s Notes: 

When you buy a gun, you have to fill out a form that asks if you’re addicted to a substance. It looks like this: 

At this point it becomes a question if your state allows the government to access their patient register. Some states, like Missouri, have said “no!” They passed House Bill 85, which asserts that they don’t have to share this information with the government

Other states, like Oklahoma, have passed bills specifically protecting gun rights for medical marijuana patients.

However, states aren’t always clear on their position. Letting the government access a state’s marijuana-patient database is grounds for denying a gun purchase. It seems that based on our patients’ experiences, Illinois is one of them! Even though our patient said, ‘no,’ for the question about marijuana addiction (as most medical patients would), his gun purchase was still denied.

The Illinois police have stated (in a facebook post, ha) “The Illinois State Police (ISP) said it will not revoke FOID cards or Concealed Carry Licenses based solely on a person’s legal use of adult cannabis.” While that statement seems clear, it’s not exactly codified in law or easily searchable online. If Illinois is sharing its database of medical patients resulting in a revocation of gun privileges, it needs to be clear.

Yes or no isn’t the issue- being clear about your decision is. Come on Illinois!