Check out what gun owners and concealed carry permit holders need to know when considering getting an Ohio medical marijuana card! Click on the links below to go directly to the section, or simply scroll down to read this page.
Getting a medical marijuana card in Ohio is simple for patients who have one of the 25 conditions that qualify for treatment. But one factor that could complicate your decision to get the natural relief you deserve, is your status as a gun owner.
At Ohio Marijuana Card, one of the top questions we get from patients considering treatment with cannabis is, "Does owning a gun or other firearm disqualify me from getting a medical marijuana card in Ohio?"
Unfortunately, the answer is not entirely straightforward. Owning a gun does not disqualify you from getting a medical marijuana card in Ohio. However, when Federal marijuana laws conflict with State marijuana laws, things get complicated.
For gun owners in Ohio to make an informed decision about getting a medical marijuana card, it's essential to understand the nuances to the situation surrounding guns and cannabis. Here, we intend to help clarify the relationship between State and Federal laws, and what being an Ohio marijuana card holder may mean for gun owners and concealed carry licensees.
If you own firearms or have a CCW license and are interested in getting a medical marijuana card in Ohio, keep reading to learn what you need to know.
Ohio HB 523 was signed into law in the fall of 2016, making it legal to purchase medical cannabis at licensed Ohio dispensaries to treat certain qualifying conditions. Ohio residents seeking medical marijuana in the Buckeye State are required to have at least one of the pre-approved medical conditions.
Patients who meet the requirements can get a recommendation from a marijuana doctor online or in person, then submit an application for approval to the Ohio Medical Marijuana Control Program. When the application is approved, they can usually shop at a medical marijuana dispensary the same day.
The reason for this is because according to Federal law, marijuana is still a controlled substance. It doesn't matter that 36 states have legalized marijuana use for medicinal purposes. It also doesn't matter that nearly two-thirds of Americans think that marijuana should be legal in some way or another.
In the eyes of the Feds, marijuana is still considered Schedule I, lumped in with heroin as having no medicinal value and a high risk for abuse.
According to the 1968 Gun Control Act, anyone who uses or is in possession of a controlled substance cannot also own or be in possession of firearms. Some interpret this law to include all persons living in (or even visiting) the same household.
The main interest when the controlled substance portion was added to this act, was to give law enforcement the freedom to build cases against major drug cartels famous for illegal drug and firearms trade and possession.
However, it has also historically been used to toughen the penalties for regular citizens who get caught with illegal drugs when they happen to own guns.
The Federal government has left the issue of marijuana legalization up to individual states. However, the Second Amendment allowing citizens to bear arms is written into the Constitution. So, laws surrounding firearms are a Federal issue.
This is where things get tricky, though, because the enforcement of Federal laws is highly dependent on cooperation from the states themselves. Resources for seeking out, arresting and prosecuting Federal criminals is limited, and top-level government agencies rely on local law enforcement to manage the majority of the legwork.
It's no secret that many American citizens who own guns also use marijuana. As of August 31, 2021, more than 300 thousand medical marijuana recommendations have been issued. Considering Ohio is eighth in the US for gun ownership, then there is bound to be a considerable amount of overlap.
This is generally the case in most states, and it is even greater in states where recreational marijuana is legal. It has created quite the conundrum for law enforcement, and most state lawmakers and enforcers are watching other states to see how they are handling it.
Some courts have upheld that just because medical marijuana is legal in a state, that doesn't mean that those who use it can own a gun. However, there is significant pushback from legislators in states where residents are passionate about their Second Amendment rights.
One such state is Missouri, where the Second Amendment Preservation Act was passed in June, 2021. The act makes it unlawful for enforcement officers employed by local or Missouri state agencies to enforce Federal laws related to guns. Officers who do so can face a fine of up to $50 thousand for every instance.
And as early as 2011, an Oregon Supreme Court ruling indicated that the County Sheriff's offices had a duty to issue concealed gun licenses to qualified applicants regardless of their status as a medical marijuana patient.
The Ohio Medical Marijuana Control Program's Patient Registry is a closed system. This means that your medical records are still protected by HIPAA, and that access to the registry is limited to your healthcare providers and law enforcement. Law enforcement may only access your status as a patient in order to verify that you are using medical marijuana legally.
Considering Ohio does not require firearms to be registered, it is unlikely that the Feds will even know whether you have guns unless you made your purchase through a Federally-licensed dealer (more on this in the next section).
The OMMCP does not check for gun ownership status when you are applying for your Ohio marijuana card.
When you buy a gun from a Federally licensed dealer, you must fill out ATF form 4473, also known as the Firearms Transaction Record.
Question 21e asks the following: " 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."
Lying on this form can result in hefty penalties and even jail time, so we don't advise that you do so.
However, purchasing a firearm from a private seller and/or at gun shows does not require a background check or for the purchaser to fill out ATF form 4473.
Concealed Carry permits in Ohio are granted through the Sheriff's department in the county in which you reside. The form required asks if you are an unlawful user of a controlled substance, but does not include the clarification that even medical marijuana is considered Federally unlawful
Though the legality of owning a gun while being an active user of medical marijuana is still in question, these are the facts that it is important to know:
It is Federally illegal to purchase, possess, or use marijuana, even if for medical purposes and even if it's legal in your state.
Federal Government officials are uninterested in sniffing out gun owners who are otherwise abiding by State laws.
State and Local law enforcement is also likely uninterested in contradicting State laws for the sake of busting someone who is using their medicine and practicing their Second Amendment rights.
The most likely scenarios in which you could find yourself in legal hot water over guns and marijuana are those where you are committing another crime, or if you are carrying your firearm while intoxicated by marijuana.
If you do commit a crime while in possession of both medical marijuana and a gun, or if you are carrying your gun while intoxicated, you are not likely to get any leniency just because you have a medical marijuana card. You may also be subject to Federal investigation or penalties because possessing guns and marijuana at the same time is Federally unlawful.
If you don't have a medical marijuana card in Ohio, then purchasing, possessing and using marijuana is illegal. If you also own guns, you are committing a crime that could come with additional penalties as a result of the 1968 Gun Control Act.
*Note: This page is by no means meant to be taken as legal advice or to replace the counsel of an attorney. In order to be absolutely certain of your legal status, or if you find yourself in legal trouble related to marijuana, contact an attorney.
Though we can't tell you that an Ohio marijuana card provides legal protection in the case of gun ownership or possession, we can tell you that using marijuana illegally while having firearms is a big no-no. If you possess marijuana without a doctor's recommendation, you could find yourself in even bigger trouble if you also happen to have guns.
The choices gun owners need to make when considering medical cannabis are not straightforward. However, the answer of whether you should get a card or not is pretty clear if you make the decision to use marijuana regardless of legality, especially if you own a gun. When you have your medical card, then you are a legal cannabis user.
An officer who finds legal marijuana in your possession will not inquire any further, because there is no probable cause to believe that you are committing a crime. However, an officer who finds illegal marijuana in your possession will likely conduct a search for additional contraband.
We understand that gun owners have plenty to consider when thinking about getting a medical marijuana card. And we are here to help! Give our patient support staff a call at (866) 457-5559 to get all your questions answered!
If you have done your due diligence and decided that now is the time, make an appointment with one of our marijuana doctors online today to get the natural relief you've been waiting for