• Suzanna Thallman

Legislation to Allow Medical Marijuana Patients to Purchase Guns

Updated: Aug 6, 2019

According to Marijuana Moment, there are legislative efforts underway in Maryland, Oklahoma and Colorado aimed at protecting the right to own firearms for medical cannabis patients! Due to the fact that the federal form involved with purchasing a gun must be filled out prior to sales by licensed dealers, a congressional fix would be more consequential than many other smaller-level proposals being put forth.

A bill recently filed by Rep. Alex Mooney (R-WV) would allow medical cannabis patients to purchase and possess firearms.

The legislation filed by Rep. Mooney would ultimately amend federal law so that people using cannabis for medical purposes can no longer be disqualified when applying to purchase a firearm, as long as the patient is in compliance with state policies.


Medical Marijuana and Firearm Laws Conflict

Currently, to enforce the current federal prohibition, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) includes the following question prior to purchasing a gun: “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 medical or recreational purposes in the state where you reside.”


Mooney's "Second Amendment Protection Act" would create an exception for medical cannabis patients. “No patient should have to choose between their Second Amendment rights and following doctor’s orders,” Don Murphy, director of federal policies for the Marijuana Policy Project told Marijuana Moment.


Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY) last year floated a similar proposal to Mooney's legislation, with the additional caveat of removing the ATF form question. Furthermore, Massie's bill, which has not been introduced yet, would cover both medical and recreational cannabis consumers.

“I think we’ve created millions of felons with this question,” Massie told Marijuana Moment in an earlier interview. “You can’t imagine that everybody in Colorado, who under Colorado state law is legally using marijuana, has never purchased a firearm. That would be completely illogical.”

According to a 2017 survey by the Pew Research Center, about 40% of men say they own a firearm, while about 22% of women do. Based on 2017 gun registration statistics from the ATF, Ohio has 14.87 guns registered per capita meaning there are about 173,000 individuals in Ohio affected by the restrictions placed on gun-owners; due to federal law, gun-owners are unable to obtain a medical marijuana card, even from a state-run program.


While it is consequential that legislators in Maryland, Oklahoma and Colorado are pushing for this reform, ultimately it will require a federal reform in legislation to provide gun-owners with the safety to obtain a medical marijuana card that any other patient enjoys. It is inherently unfair for law-abiding citizens to be disqualified from a treatment option that could significantly improve their health, simply due to the fact that they are utilizing their Second Amendment right.


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