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Marijuana: Concealed Carry And Firearm Ownership

gun laws and marijuana concealed carry license state

Before we begin, I am going to state that this is NOT an opinion piece for or against the legalization of marijuana for medicinal or recreational use. I have my opinion on the topic and I will keep it out of this article. This article IS designed to get you thinking about the myriad of legal issues that have risen from states legalizing the medical and recreational use of marijuana, and the conflict between federal and state laws.

Who Is The ATF And Why Do They Matter?

We all probably know about the United States Department of Justice Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF), and it’s regulation over nearly all things firearms related. Federal Firearms Dealers’ (FFLs’) actions are dictated by the ATF. This means every gun store from Cabelas to the small shack around the corner from the grocery store is fully licensed and regulated by a Federal Agency. If you purchased a firearm through a licensed FFL (contrary to what the media may have you believe), you had to fill out ATF form 4473 and pass a background check. Remember all the questions on the form? Pay particular attention to question 11.e:

Are you the unlawful user of, or addicted to, marijuana or any depressant, stimulant, narcotic drug, or any other controlled substance?

But Don't My State Rights Matter When I Buy or Carry A Gun In My State?

atf dogWhy is this important? Because although states have passed laws legalizing marijuana for medicinal and recreational use, the federal government still classifies marijuana as a schedule I drug which is defined as having no medicinal benefit. I recognize that the 4473 form does read “unlawful user,” and according to state law, you may be legally allowed to use marijuana. Unfortunately, the ATF controls firearms sales and not the states.

Federally, there is no such thing as legal marijuana use. In fact, in September of 2011, the ATF sent letters to FFL’s stating that knowingly selling a firearm to someone who is a marijuana user, even if s/he is legally able to possess marijuana in the state, would be a violation of federal law. Most FFL’s would not risk losing their license with the ATF by selling to known marijuana users.

So couldn’t one simply answer “no” to question 11.e and be done with it? Sure, if perjury is your thing. See, intentionally providing false information on a federal form like the 4473, would be considered perjury. I know you are thinking, how would the federal government or an FFL know that I have a medical marijuana card or use recreationally? If you are a casual marijuana user, you probably wouldn't pop up on an FFL’s radar. However, like I mentioned earlier, FFL’s are usually very leery about selling guns to individuals who they might think are sketchy.

Most would gladly pass up a sale if their gut is telling them something doesn't seem right with the buyer. Your pot leaf glorifying attire may be just enough to have the FFL second guess selling you that firearm. Think about this; some states have state-issued medical marijuana licenses. At the time of this article, I am not aware of any states where the list of state-issued medical marijuana cardholders names are being provided to FFL’s or being merged into the background check database, but it’s not a stretch to think that it could happen in the near future. The federal government has an arsenal of reasons to prohibit citizens from owning firearms so this could be another means of attack.

Since Legal Marijuana Use Is New Could This Possibly Blow Over?

Recently, August 2016 actually, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that simply having a medical marijuana card issued to oneself, is enough to suspend that person's 2nd amendment right to purchase a firearm.  The case began in 2011 when a gun store denied the sale of a firearm to a woman who had a state-issued medical marijuana license.  The woman filed a lawsuit, and the case made its way all the way to the federal level and was most recently ruled on by the famous 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.  It is not only important to know the ultimate decision of the appeal but to understand the way the court interpreted the law in this case and applied it in this instance.  First, the Court ruled unanimously 3-0 against the plaintiff.  Secondly, the Court ruled that it was reason for of federal regulators to assume a medical marijuana license holder is more likely to use marijuana.  The Senior District Judge went on to say:

In addition, a ban on the sale of guns to marijuana and other drug users is reasonable because the use of such drugs “raises the risk of irrational or unpredictable behavior with which gun use should not be associated,”

Yes, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has the most overturned decisions of any other federal circuit, but changing and challenging established rulings takes time, money, stress and perseverance.  Will this ruling stick, no one can say for sure.  Will it be overturned or will another court rule differently based on different facts, again who knows.  Until that happens, this case can be cited as precedence for other rulings.

But Concealed Carry Licenses Are Managed and Issued By States Right?

What about concealed carry licenses and marijuana use? This is another issue where state and federal law are at an impasse. There have been several state-level cases resulting in various outcomes. Currently, there are Sheriffs of some states that delay or prohibit known marijuana users from obtaining a concealed carry license. Other states have allowed it, stating that the federal laws regulating the purchase of firearms have no bearing on the citizen from obtaining a concealed carry permit. Even with these rulings, marijuana users still receive push back from the issuing authorities. As recently as 2014, Colorado voters tried to propose a bill that would stop Sheriffs from prohibiting known marijuana users from obtaining concealed carry permits. Outcome…it didn’t gain enough support to be voted upon.

And what about reciprocity agreements? If one state allows concealed handgun licenses to medical marijuana users, and another state doesn't, this could be reason for the two states to drop their reciprocity agreements.

So what does all this mean? Well, it means that there is a huge disconnect between the laws and powers of the federal government and the state government. Ironically, some of the biggest anti-gun lobbyists are also proponents of marijuana legalization. Perhaps THIS is the real reason this issue has not been addressed. Ultimately, the people suffer once again because of politics and politicians’ desire to represent their special interest donors in lieu of their constituents.

So What Do We Recommend?

Like I stated above, regardless of your opinion on the medicinal or recreational use of marijuana, there is a real issue that needs to be addressed and clarified. Right now, it is as clear as mud, and people may unknowingly be sacrificing their constitutional rights in order to get high or use medical marijuana. There are undoubtedly people who are chronically ill who could benefit from medically prescribed marijuana. However, for all the other 18-25 year olds who have joined the craze to get a medical marijuana recommendation from a doctor for their carpal tunnel syndrome as a result of playing video games, or to help them sleep, I suggest you weigh the options and look for potential, unintended consequences of getting that recommendation or state-issued medical marijuana license.

Resource links:

ATF Form 4473

ATF Letter To FFL’s



The DOJ just released updated information regarding how they will handle the issue of medical marijuana and firearms purchases.  The DOJ posted a memo advising Federal Firearms Licensed Dealers (FFL's) that there would be changes to the ATF 4470 form.  Here is a link to that memo.  There are several changes however here is the change that directly addresses medical marijuana:

  • Question 11.e: Added a warning statement regarding marijuana that has been legalized or decriminalized for medicinal or recreational purposes in the state where the transferee/buyer resides.

FFL's will be required to begin using the new for on January 16th, 2017.

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56 Responses to Marijuana: Concealed Carry And Firearm Ownership

  1. Chuck Cochran May 10, 2016 at 10:54 am #

    I agree that there is a huge risk being a firearm owner or CHP holder and the medical use of Cannabis (I won’t even go into the recreational use). Currently, it is still a controlled substance at the Federal level. The biggest issue I’ve pondered, before it even became legal in Colorado, is the lack of a Medical/Legislative agreement as to what constitutes legal impairment under the law. Personally, I have no desire to even try the stuff, but that’s just my opinion. We discussed this ad nauseum in my CC class that I took, and the general consensus was that it’s such a legal grey area right now, that a prudent CC holder is best off avoiding use or contact with the substance.

    • Matthew May 10, 2016 at 2:09 pm #

      Hi Chuck,
      I agree there is definitely a lot to consider before getting a marijuana recommendation when it comes to someone’s desire to own firearms. Wherever this goes, I’m sure it will be slow moving and clear as mud. Thanks for the comment.

      • master z September 8, 2016 at 9:31 pm #

        you make no sense as alcohol has worse effects than maijuana

        • aj3jr July 23, 2018 at 2:17 pm #

          It’s against the law, at least in Delaware, to be under the influence of Alcohol, even a sip, and be in control of a firearm. This includes or prohibits us from even being on the bar side of a restaurant. There is a test for alcohol. Is there a test for smoking marijuana?

    • Bryan December 30, 2018 at 4:16 pm #

      I’m not talking about using and being in possession of a firearm at the same time, being under the influence of anything with a firearm is bad, I’m talking about having a prescription for a medication that improves quality of life and having your rights stripped. Hurt your back, Dr gave you percocet, you should lose your 2nd amendment rights correct? That’s what were talking about here. There is no difference. They are telling people to choose between living a more pain free life and defending that life. Those prescription pain pills you got for your back, kill 20k Americans a year. Opioids overall in both legal and illegal form kill 70k. People are allowed to purchase other medications under the assumption they will use them safely and not drive their car, or use their firearm, cannabis is no different

      • Matthew Maruster December 31, 2018 at 10:23 am #

        Bryan, you make completely reasonable points, but the ultimate takeaway is that there is an undeniable legal difference between legally prescribed opioid medications and cannabis (even if the state has legalized it or decriminalized it). The legal difference affects the individual’s second amendment right, which is the point of the article.

      • Brigitte June 22, 2020 at 4:34 am #

        Exactly. Im having to choose my medical marijuana card over getting my concealed carry permit. Its sad.

  2. Rickie Hembree May 10, 2016 at 11:11 am #

    I have been 1/2 way around the world 4 times in army.I have seen and done almost everthing I would rather see marijuana users than a man or women drinking with a weapion

    • Dave December 9, 2019 at 2:34 pm #

      Ive done a few trips laden with gear. I would rather see noone using anything alcohol or drugwise while conveying arms. Thats always been a pet peeve of mine.

  3. Matthew May 10, 2016 at 2:12 pm #

    Hi Rickie,
    Thank you for your service and for the feedback. I don’t think there needs to be a choice between the two (marijuana vs alcohol). Anyone in possession of a firearm should be of sound mind regardless of the intoxicant.

    • Grump May 14, 2016 at 7:52 pm #

      Regardless ??? Under the influence PERIOD puts you in jeopardy and a defense Attorney will bury you

      • Matthew May 14, 2016 at 9:40 pm #

        Grump, I think maybe my comment came across the wrong way. I don’t believe anyone should be under the influence of anything while possessing a firearm. And I agree it will cause you major problems, in many states it is criminal to possess a firearm while under the influence of any intoxicant. Thanks for the feedback.

        • Eddie November 4, 2017 at 8:45 am #

          What about all the other prescription drug users , there’s actually active Leo & ccw license holder with mind altering medications,for depression, anxiety, ptsd , pain, etc.
          these laws are opene ended, but focus on the lesser of the socially damaging item.
          Last I checked most mass shooting involved psychiatric medicine in the shooter system not cannabis..

          • Matthew Maruster November 4, 2017 at 9:46 am #

            You are right, there are a lot of prescription drugs that LEO’s, Military and civilian’s use that don’t fall into the same category as marijuana. First is the obvious federal scheduling issue, that lists certain substances as having no medical benefit.

            But outside of that, maybe the practical issue, revolves around what we define as ‘mind-altering’. I think generally we would agree that mind-altering drugs would make it difficult for a person to see the world around them how it really is. It may simply change reaction times or equilibrium, cause auditory exclusion, or it may affect the persons inhabitions.

            I don’t agree with the statement that most mass shooters commit the crime because they are using psych meds. In fact, most of these people have psychiatric issues that are not being controlled by medications, or they are not taking their prescribed medications or taking them along with other illicit drugs and alcohol. As a cop, rarely did I have to fight people who were appropriately taking their psych meds. The ones who didn’t take them or stacked them with other drugs were unpredictable.

            Psyche meds, when used and prescribed correctly are designed to help the person manage symptoms that don’t allow them to see the world around them as it is, rather than alter the real world. Those with extreme psychological issues that cant be treated with medications are probably flagged under the ‘persons with disabilities’ from possessing firearms.

            I don’t think people should be using any reality-altering substance while they possess their firearm, or drive a car or fly a plane or perform open-heart surgery. Should they be stripped of their constitutional rights to purchase a firearm, no I don’t think so.

            Thanks for the feedback, God Bless.

          • Scott Sallee October 9, 2018 at 9:34 pm #

            Matthew, he didn’t say psyche meds caused the shootings. He said a majority of the shooters are/were on psyche meds. I don’t pretend to know the causation or correlation of the two, but I know Eddie’s last sentence is truth.

            FWIW: I am on psyche meds. Granted it’s prescribed for off-label usage, in my case insomnia, but it’s still psyche meds. Seeing as I don’t want to shoot anyplace up, I’m assuming psyche meds aren’t the cause, but who knows unless someone bothers to research the issue.

          • Matthew Maruster October 10, 2018 at 9:48 am #

            Thanks for the feedback Scott. Eddie actually did draw a correlation between psyche meds and mass shootings. The inference drawn from his statement is that marijuana is not as bad as psyche meds. He said “Last I checked most mass shooting [sic] involved psychiatric medicine in the shooter system, not cannabis..” It is a false equivalency based on anecdotal evidence. And there are countless studies on the effects of psych meds in therapeutic dosages and when taken regularly, compared to the outcome of taking psych meds inconsistently and combining them with illicit drugs. The later as you may guess produce much poorer results as far as creating behavior problems.

            What I can tell you from empirical evidence that there is absolutely no correlation between someone taking prescription levels of psychiatric medications and their propensity to become a mass shooter. Digest these numbers if you will. In 2011 over 40 million adults in the United States were prescribed one or multiple psychiatric medications. Over an 18 year period from 2000 to 2018 there were 282 mass/active shooting events. If psyche meds caused people to become mass shooters we would have many more mass shootings. Are many mass shooters prescribed psyche meds, of course? So this is the causation part of the equation you mentioned. There is absolutely none. Many mass shooters have behavioral issues that require some medical treatment so they are prescribed psyche meds. But again drawing any causation from this is missing the underlying issue. The mental health disorder the person has. Unfortunately, when people do not take psyche meds regularly, at prescribed levels or mix them with illicit drugs, it creates unpredictable results. Partially because the underlying mental health conditions are not treated, and secondarily because the brain’s chemistry is haphazardly altered with combinations of illicit drugs and psych meds.

            As you know there is a difference between correlation and causation. Eddie proposed that psyche meds are the cause of active shooters because there is a correlation between active shooters being prescribed psyche meds. That is similar to saying when people eat more ice cream, they are more likely to be bitten by a shark. Statistics absolutely show when more ice cream is sold in Florida, there are more instances of shark attacks. But it isn’t the ice cream causing the increase in shark attacks. It is the fact that more people go to the beach in the summer months. And as you would presume, buy more ice cream. So, in reality, there is no causation between ice cream and shark attacks, but a clear correlation between the numbers.

            And let’s use your personal account. The fact that you are prescribed psyche meds should not lead anyone to believe that you are any more likely to be the next mass shooter. I know you said you know Eddies last statement is the truth. I agree it absolutely is. But it in no way validates his incorrect assertion that marijuana is safer than psyche medication. When I was an LEO in San Diego County, approximately 80% of the inmates when booked into jail tested positive for marijuana. It would be foolish to say that smoking marijuana ensures you will land in jail. Again Eddie unwittingly uses the same anti-gun rhetoric that links mass shootings to psych meds. If enough people believe there is strong causation between psyche meds and mass shootings, why would anyone want to allow any of the 40 million Americans currently on psyche meds the right to own a firearm?

            Again thanks for your feedback I appreciate your take and sharing your personal experience.

    • aj3jr July 23, 2018 at 2:20 pm #

      I agree with your statement, “Anyone in possession of a firearm should be of sound mind regardless of the intoxicant”.

  4. Ron May 10, 2016 at 3:56 pm #

    My daughter in Colorado has a painful back ailment that using marijuana eases the pain, but she formally relinquished her medical marijuana card before applying for her concealed carry permit. In Colorado, the medical card isn’t that big a deal anyway, all it does is allow you to get the marijuana a little cheaper than you’d have to pay otherwise.

    The pricing structure in Colorado is like this: medical marijuana card holders pay the least, state residents without the card pay the next highest, and out of state residents pay the most. Also, state residents can buy a maximum of one ounce per visit, while out of staters are limited to a quarter ounce per visit.

    The government could still cross check marijuana sales with concealed carry permit holders, because before you’re even allowed into the sales area of the store, you have to produce your drivers license, which they scan.

    • Matthew May 10, 2016 at 4:09 pm #

      Ron, Thanks for sharing your personal experience dealing with the issue. Definitely makes you think about how all these databases could be used in ways we wouldn’t initially anticipate. I appreciate your contribution. I hope your daughter can find relief from her back pain.

    • Christie Smith August 19, 2019 at 2:00 pm #

      Did your daughter end up getting her cc permit after giving up her medical permi?

  5. Amanda May 14, 2016 at 9:46 pm #

    I never thought about it, but there could be super serious consequences for ccp holders (or any gun owners) who use drugs. There is a specific federal statute that says it is a crime to be a drug user in possession of a firearm. I believe it is a felony. If convicted, then you are a felon and can’t own any guns at all. Not to mention the essentially mandatory prison time in the federal system.

    • Matthew May 15, 2016 at 7:19 am #

      Hi Amanda, great points. Thank you for reading and glad you liked the article!

  6. Lynette September 1, 2016 at 3:28 pm #

    Now that the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that medical marijuana users do not have a right to buy or possess firearms, some of the issues brought up in the case of S. Wilson v. Loretta E. Lynch really should be a cause for concern. The judges stated that even just having a medical marijuana card is a reasonable cause to assume that a person is using and/or in possession of marijuana. So with that ruling in place, should a person then have to surrender their 4th Amendment rights, as well as their 2nd Amendment right? Since the 9th Circuit proclaimed that a person with a medical marijuana card is using or in possession of an illegal substance, can the fact that person merely has a medical marijuana card be reasonable cause to search their home, place of business, or vehicle?

    • Barbara July 26, 2018 at 6:39 am #

      The question I have is this, while medical marijuana is really not available in my state as a ccp I have been told that because I have a carry permit I would not be able to get a license in order to assist someone in need

  7. Mont September 8, 2016 at 12:02 pm #

    The ruling bars future purchase of firearms. Firearms acquired before her attempted purchase may still be retained by Ms. Wilson. And speaking from a law enforcement background, I applaud the decision, one of the very few times the 9th Circus got it right. Drug (of any kind) impaired minds and guns do not mix. EVER

    • Matthew Maruster September 9, 2016 at 6:25 am #

      Mont, I agree 100% with you about not mixing any drug/alcohol, legal or illegal with firearms.

    • Seth November 26, 2016 at 4:52 pm #

      I’m curious about this too..? I don’t understand, and maybe someone can clarify this.

      I assume that what this means is if you bought guns in 2012-2013 and say got your med card in 2014, you’d fall under this umbrella?

      I read somewhere that if she were to surrender her card she could start purchasing a weapon again? There is so much gray area with this that I think all of these things need to be addressed: A) If you bought guns BEFORE you became a medical patient, are you still in danger? B) if so, why don’t medical marijuana forms have this information in it!? C) If you surrender your card, are you less of a target?

      I’m curious because like I said there is so much gray area that this should have been clarified somewhat, at least you’d think??

    • Seth November 26, 2016 at 4:54 pm #

      Ok, this helped a little bit, so if she purchased weapons before becoming a patient, she’s able to retain them? I thought it said that you cannot own, or posses weapons if your a med patient?

      • Jacob Paulsen November 26, 2016 at 8:36 pm #

        The Federal law says that possession of marijuana is illegal. Within states where it possession or use has been legalized that Federal law is not enforced. However, the Federal law also says that to be in possession of a firearm and marijuana is an additional… extra crime. No state has passed any law that has legalized firearm possession in conjunction with marijuana possession. So yes that is a crime. The recent ruling by the court didn’t address every possible question or scenario. What the court clearly stated is that future purchase is illegal… that doesn’t mean that any possession isn’t illegal… it only means the court’s ruling didn’t address that question.

  8. Larry September 8, 2016 at 12:17 pm #

    Well I think we all can see where this is going and what can happen over night with the wrong people in the whitehouse or on the Supreme Court. If you want to keep your right to keep and bear arms regardless of how you feel about Donald Trump you had better get out and vote and urge and help get him elected. If Hillarys elected Finstein bill for seizure of guns may get passed.
    Perhaps even more of a problem would be her appointments to the Supreme Court, and that could mean as many as three or more if she’s there for eight years. I think we’re seeing just what will happen now if Hillary continues what Obama started. You can be sure that many more illegal
    executive orders coming the first day she’s in office if she wins. Everything I’ve read on this matter state that these orders are suppose to be to define a law except as to where it effects only that executive branch, however even at state levels this practice has gone on much to long unchecked. One of there other tools is to price most people out of the ability to afford a gun, and to a lesser degree ammo as well. The spike in ammo cost is almost out of hand I can remember not that many years ago 22 Ammo was 8.00 a box of 500 at Walmart. 45 cal was 12.00 box of fifty and they were available anytime you needed them, just look at the prices now if you can find them. So if you want to keep your RIGHT to keep and bear arms go and vote or they will be gone or so restricted you can’t qualify.

  9. Matthew Maruster September 9, 2016 at 6:28 am #

    Larry, Definitely a lot riding on this election when it comes to the future direction of our Country.

  10. Kyle franco September 13, 2016 at 5:23 pm #

    Oh the government. I don’t care anyone’s opinion on marijuana. The hypocrisy of it all is I can go into a bar with my concealed carry and drink. Btw cocaine is class 2 drug while marijuana is a class 1

    • Matthew Maruster September 13, 2016 at 6:55 pm #

      Kyle, good point, there are states, like yours that do not prohibit alcohol consumption while possessing a firearm. There are also states whose law’s prohibit consumption of alcohol or drug while possessing a firearm. I feel that makes complete sense and am shocked states still allow firearm possession while consuming intoxicants. I agree the governments scheduling of drugs may not reflect the current push for medical marijuana, however even if it was rescheduled as a schedule II drug, I couldn’t advocate getting high and carrying a firearm.

    • Jim February 28, 2018 at 6:57 am #

      In montana you cannot carry a conceled weapon in establishment that serve alcohol as the main business

  11. Kathy k. July 1, 2017 at 1:56 pm #

    I’m in the law enforcement field but not a law enforcement officer. Although possession of marijuana is the highest on our list of charges of any controlled substance, I believe that people who possess, manufacture or distribute any other type of illegal drugs are much more cautious due to the severity of the penalty it could bring if convicted. People who possess marijuana don’t seem to be as concerned because in our state ppl can have up to 4 oz of marijuana and it still remain a misdemeanor as long as it is not baggied out to indicate that it is being sold. Some people say 4 oz can not be personal use but I’m pretty sure there’s a lot of people that would disagree especially smokers that have been doing it since they were teens and are now much older. With that being said I personally feel that gun rights should not be taken away just because somebody has a condition that make them eligible for medical marijuana. Hell they probably need a gun more than some of the others due to having medical marijuana cuz if somebody finds out you have it they know you got the marijuana that a lot of people are seeking and may need protection. Everybody has their own opinion I do see the other side of why not having a weapon and a medical marijuana card the only thing is there’s a lot of people that possess weapons do not have a medical marijuana card but still smoke marijuana

  12. E Erwin March 9, 2018 at 1:58 pm #

    So it’s OK to have a liquor cabinet and a medicine cabinet full of things that have been proven to be highly addictive/or deadly. And still be legal to have a safe full of guns. However if you If you possess a legal substance which has 0 deaths attributed directly to it, and only affects you for a few hours after use. With No side effects. You should be stripped of your 2nd amendment rights?
    Please do your research and follow the money.

  13. PG March 25, 2018 at 9:51 am #

    Here’s a question that I’ve yet to find an answer to:

    Would my Illinois medical marijuana card show up on a CCW background check in Colorado?

    I had a MML in Illinois and it has an expiration date of 12/2018. I no longer live in Illinois, and have resided in Colorado for 7 months. So I’m wondering if that sort of information is stored in that specific states databases or if it would show up on a CCW background check in another state.

    Technically, the MML is no longer valid because I no longer reside in that state. In my eyes I am no longer a medical marijuana patient and no longer use marijuana.

    • Jacob Paulsen March 25, 2018 at 9:54 am #

      No it will not show up on the background check. But the existence of the card could disqualify you from obtaining a permit if it was somehow brought to the attention of the sheriff.

  14. Keep and Bear Arms June 29, 2018 at 6:52 am #

    The right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.

    Cannabis existed and was cultivated by Founders of the US.

    The US Constitution and the US Bill of Rights is written on cannabis paper.

    Anyone denying that is at best a fool.

  15. Keep and Bear Arms June 29, 2018 at 6:58 am #

    The authority of the federal government is very strictly defined by the US Constitution.

    They have they right to regulate trade between states and between states and foreign powers.

    It is specifically spelled out as law.

    The federal government has no Constitutional authority to regulate in state trade, let alone possession of anything regardless of popular claims. For example, banning beer required a Constitutional Amendment, they obviously have no authority to ban naturally occurring plants.

  16. Cecil Haley July 25, 2018 at 2:15 pm #

    I have a question. I know people who have chronic pain due to an accident that have a Morphine Pump implanted in them. Their medicine is regulated by their Dr. and the pump. Does that keep them from buying or owning firearms?

    • Matthew Maruster July 25, 2018 at 3:02 pm #

      Hi Cecil,
      The issue with marijuana and firearms ownership has little to do with the effects marijuana has on the body and everything to do with the fact that the DEA classifies it as a schedule I substance. This means according to the federal government marijuana has no medicinal use. Morphine is a schedule II substance. Schedule II drugs have a high potential for abuse and dependency but have legitimate medical purposes. Now states may have decided that marijuana does have medicinal purposes, but there are federal laws that prohibit possessing a firearm while being a user/addict of marijuana. When you go to purchase your firearm you have to fill out the federal form 4473, and it asks:
      ” Are you an unlawful user of, or addicted to, marijuana or any depressant, stimulant, narcotic drug, or any other controlled substance?
      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.”
      It makes it pretty clear that in the eyes of the federal government, users of marijuana are not allowed to possess firearms.

      Your friend that has a morphine pump has a prescription for the drug so he is allowed to use it, and still possess a firearm. However, many states have laws prohibiting people in possession of a firearm from being under the influence of alcohol or a drug, prescription or not. So your friend could still own firearms and use morphine, just not likely be in possession while using more than a therapeutic or prescribed dose.

      I know it can be confusing for gun owners to understand the rationale. It is a disconnect between federal and state laws related to marijuana. Hopefully that helps.

      • Connor May 26, 2020 at 12:52 am #

        I am curious what constitutes a “user of… marijuana.”
        If a person used it recreationally once a year ago does that make them a user? If so, i would assume a major portion of the us population would have been “users” of marijuana at some point in their lives. If not, what is the difference between using it once a year ago and using it for the first time yesterday? My point being, if a person were to purchase marijuana, (legally in the state’s eyes) how long after that purchase is it appropriate to respond “no” to question 11.e.

        • Matthew Maruster May 26, 2020 at 12:29 pm #

          Good question Connor. I don’t think my opinion on the definition would hold much legal weight and I haven’t seen a clear definition emerge as the statute is enforced. My opinion, based on what I can tell is that undocumented and distant past use is impossible to trace. Recent past use in conjunction with firearm possession would be a legal issue if there is some measurable amount in your blood (as it isn’t tied to impairment). Probably only a legal issue if you used a firearm to defend yourself and blood toxicology is done showing marijuana in your system. I am not saying this alone would trigger prosecution, but it could be an outcome. Documented recent past use like having an arrest for possession or having a state-issued medical marijuana card could complicate the issue. I think it could be reasonably argued that a current state-issued marijuana card would classify one as a recent and continuing ‘user’. I would think it is safe to say that if it is undocumented past use, and you don’t plan on continuing using marijuana, you wouldn’t be a ‘user’ as it applies to this specific law. The issue doesn’t seem to be settled as far as enforcement, so it is really hard to parse through the nuance of what the feds consider a ‘user’.

  17. Janie Johnson August 12, 2018 at 10:15 pm #

    Hi Cecil,
    I recently found out it may be a problem for me. Have had a carry permit for 6 years, last year was put on a Class IV medication for a sleep issue. My daughter also has a carry permit for about 5 years, she was put on same class IV medication for a sleep disorder. I am in TN, can’t possess a handgun when “under influence of a controlled substance”, I have to take it or I sleep 18 hours a day.
    My daughter lives in IN, she is good; can’t find any restrictions in their laws.

  18. Matt May 17, 2019 at 6:11 pm #

    My girlfriend uses marijuana while driving her vehicle and she holds a state pistol permit in Connecticut.
    She does not possess a medical marijuana card and carries her firearm with her.
    Can she loose her rights to carry a firearm and loose her permit ??

    • Jacob Paulsen May 20, 2019 at 4:35 pm #


      • Mike July 3, 2019 at 2:18 pm #

        Hey there, i have been arrested for marijuana possession about 4 years ago and haven’t used it since. This was in Florida. Am I still eligible for ccw ?

        • Jacob Paulsen July 4, 2019 at 4:08 pm #

          I recommend contacting your county sheriff and asking them. I’m not familiar enough with FL laws to say one way or the other.

  19. Eric June 21, 2019 at 2:26 pm #

    Hopefully I’m posting my question right I apologise if not. I live in Michigan and have scoliosis which is causing nerves to be pinched in my back. When marijuana was decriminalized I began to use it for medicanal reasons I don’t have medical marijuana card because it’s pointless now. My Grandfather passed away and left me a pistol. I tried to register it last week and answered the question on the form honestly. Needless to say i was denied my permit and was told that now I can’t legally posses any of my guns for a year. My stomach won’t tolerate pain meds I get sick, it’s swapping out pain with nausea which is why I started to use marijuana. The pistol is currently in my mother’s name. Am I going to be able to get a pistol permit after the year is up? Or should I have her give it to another family member? Any input is appreciated thank you.

    • Jacob Paulsen June 24, 2019 at 7:55 pm #

      A few points of clarification. The gun is not registered in anyone’s name. You attempting to apply for a permit has nothing to do with registering the gun. Guns are not registered in Michigan or the vast majority of states. So as it relates to registering the gun or “getting it into your name” that isn’t something that is required, necessary, or possible. All that said, the possession of the gun when you are using marijuana is illegal per Federal Law in the same way that the use of Marijuana at all is illegal per federal law. Since buying a gun or applying for a concealed carry permit required a FEDERAL background check, the use of marijuana is a disqualifier for both. So, put simply, in Michigan if Marijuana is legal than your possession of Marijuana and the firearm is also legal. However, since obtaining a permit, or purchasing a firearm from a dealer require a background check via a Federal system you are disqualified from both.

  20. MATTHEW FAGAN February 10, 2020 at 5:57 am #

    Use of marijuana and guns will most likely always be considered the same as alcohol and guns ,and fall under the same laws. Calling it medical would be the same as handling guns while using any controlled medicine that has the warning of driving and or operating equipment.

  21. Lynne February 10, 2020 at 8:41 am #

    Hello –
    Any updates on the federal level since this article is a few years old? Are the Feds even considering removing cannabis from Schedule 1 status? So many states have legalized Cannabis, I can’t imagine a large portion of users have knowingly given up their 2A rights. Perhaps they are just ignoring Fed laws regarding Cannabis?

    • Jacob Paulsen February 10, 2020 at 9:15 am #

      No updates

  22. Dave August 6, 2020 at 10:58 am #

    I have a Question. If you surrender your MML in Colorado. Can you then get a CCW permit.

    • Jacob Paulsen August 6, 2020 at 11:03 am #

      I would assume yes.

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