Can You Own a Gun And Have a Medical Marijuana Card In Missouri?
Can medical marijuana patients in Missouri have a medical marijuana card and own a gun?
Will they be prevented from purchasing a gun?
What about applying for a concealed weapons permit(CWP) and having a marijuana card?
In this post, we’ll lay down the law as it relates to marijuana and gun ownership in Missouri.
Medical Marijuana and Gun Ownership
Medical marijuana use and gun possession in Missouri is a prickly matter. Across the country, the issue blurs the lines between state and federal marijuana and gun laws. Medical marijuana patients in Missouri are often surprised to learn that they are prohibited from buying guns or ammunition. And if they already own a gun, they’re faced with the dilemma of having to choose between managing their health and protecting their homes and families.
A latecomer, Missouri was the 32nd state to legalize medical marijuana in December 2018. And the topic has been a hot button from day one.
“All the time, people come in wondering what happens to their guns if they get a medical marijuana card,” said Forest Palmer with Hemp Haven, a Missouri dispensary currently selling legal CBD products and planning to add medical marijuana. “It’s because we’ve had this bias or this stigma with cannabis for so long, and we haven’t had that stigma with alcohol or opioids,” Palmer added.
“We don’t believe medical marijuana patients should be prevented from owning or purchasing firearms,” said Jack Cardetti, a spokesman for New Approach Missouri, a high profile pro-legalization organization.
How did we get into this situation where rights guaranteed by the 2nd Amendment of the U.S. Constitution are being squashed? Is there a way around the dilemma? And will this policy change any time in the near future?
Let’s delve into this.
Why can’t residents hold a medical marijuana card and own a gun in Missouri?
Marijuana is a Schedule I controlled substance on a federal level. Anyone who uses it, even for medical purposes, is technically prohibited from purchasing or owning a firearm. And according to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives — the federal agency tasked with enforcing federal gun laws — there are no exceptions. The same holds true for the DEA, FTA, FBI, and other federal agencies.
In short, federal gun laws prohibit the possession or ownership of a gun by any person who is “… an unlawful user of or addicted to any controlled substance (as defined in section 802 of the Controlled Substances Act (21 U.S.C. 802)).” That includes medical marijuana.
“There is no exception for medical use of marijuana…,” says Jon Ham, spokesperson for the ATFE in Kansas City. “If you are going to use marijuana for medical purposes after it becomes legal in Missouri and you are a firearms owner, you need to transfer the ownership of the firearms.”
In fact, the ATFE went so far as to add a revision to the standard form required for gun purchase emphasizing marijuana’s illegal status under federal law.
Moreover, federal law also stipulates that gun sellers are breaking the law if they sell firearms and ammunition to medical marijuana patients in Missouri or in any other state. This stringent directive is not sitting well with many firearm dealers across the nation.
Another gray area involves individuals who don’t actually use marijuana but who work at a dispensary or are caregivers.
Is there a way around this dilemma?
In order to purchase a gun, the buyer must fill out a federal form. On that form, they must testify that they are not a marijuana user. And if a customer admits to using an illegal controlled substance, even if it’s for medical reasons, gun dealers are legally bound to deny a firearm purchase.
Can medical marijuana cardholders just fib and say that they don’t use marijuana? It’s not recommended. Lying on any government form can result in stiff penalties.
What if you already own a gun and you get a Missouri medical marijuana card? If a Missouri citizen is in possession of a firearm and wishes to apply for a medical marijuana license, federal law dictates they must transfer ownership of the gun.
That being said, the state of Missouri will not report your status to the federal government. The database of medical marijuana holders cannot be distributed by The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services as it violates patient privacy.
Furthermore, the state does not prohibit medical marijuana users from gun ownership. Also, the forms used to obtain a CWP concealed carry permit in Missouri do not inquire about marijuana use.
Jon Ham, public information officer for the Kansas City ATF stated that individuals applying for a marijuana license will not be asked if they own a firearm. He went on to say that the agency is far more interested in investigating gun trafficking and violent crime than in monitoring citizens for violations of the marijuana/gun law.
In other states, such as Illinois and Oklahoma, lawmakers have admonished local law enforcement officials to ignore the federal memo directing them to seize the firearms of individuals in possession of a medical marijuana card.
Will the situation change in the future?
There have already been legal challenges to the federal prohibition on marijuana and guns in states with medical marijuana programs. So far, all attempts to alter these draconian laws have proven futile.
The good news is that it looks like this situation might be ironed out during the Biden administration’s term. Washington D.C. lawmakers are already working on legislation that ensures medical marijuana patients’ Second Amendment rights aren’t compromised.
In order to accomplish this, marijuana needs to be removed from Schedule I or descheduled altogether. The MORE Act, recently signed by congress, archives just that. However, the legislation must also pass the Senate and be signed by the president before it becomes law.
Action is also being taken here in Missouri. State Rep. Nick Schroer (R) wrote in a tweet: “I’ve already announced my intent to preemptively protect legitimate medicinal marijuana users’ #2A rights next year. Govt overreach in other states proves it is a necessary piece of legislation.”
As more states opt for medical marijuana legalization, this issue will continue to remain front and center and a resolution appears to be all but imminent.
VIDEO: Can I Purchase a Firearm with a Medical Marijuana Card? - Florida Video
Sources and additional reading
- Missouri medical marijuana patient FAQ
- FACT CHECK: Will medical marijuana users in Missouri be able to buy guns?
- Firearms become illegal with medical marijuana possession
- Only Feds can clear up this confusion
- Medical marijuana or your guns: Missourians may have to choose
- Federal law bans Missourians from using medical marijuana while owning a gun
- Will Joe Biden Legalize Marijuana?
- How To Keep Marijuana Locked Away From Children
- Top Rated Small, Medium And Large Protective Safes