Medical Marijuana Patients and Firearms
Many prospective and current medical marijuana patients have asked our team at
Ohio Marijuana Card about whether being a medical marijuana patient prevents
them from owning or buying a firearm. The short answer is yes, but in this article
we will break down why that is, and whether there's a system of enforcement in
place to check if gun buyers are medical marijuana patients.
Because the ATF is an arm of the federal government, they cannot allow a medical
marijuana patient to purchase a gun. Since marijuana is considered "habit forming"
as a Schedule I drug, the ATF cannot allow patients who are "addicted to
marijuana" to own a gun.
Naturally, while nearly all medical marijuana patients know that cannabis is not
generally habit forming, nor does it impair the body and mind in the same
damaging ways as alcohol (a totally legal substance), there's little that can be
done to combat this rule.
So will the government actually enforce this ban, or is marijuana going to
continually operate in the grayest of legal areas? That's a tough question to
answer, but not unlike the smoking ban that Ohio has implemented on medical marijuana, there seems to be very little provisions in place to actually enforce the
Ohio Board of Pharmacy spokesman Cameron McNamee told Dayton Daily News
that, "The patient registry itself is protected information and only those doctors
who are certified will be able to access the patient registry."
This means that while the ATF can perform a background check on potential gun
buyers, it is impossible for them to be able to access the medical marijuana patient
registry. This effectively means that the ATF will need to rely on the honesty of
gun buyers filling out their background check forms.
This could change at some point in the future as Ohio's marijuana law is fairly new.
At any point a better system of enforcement might arise. But it seems -- at least
for now -- that medical marijuana patients will have no formal way of being flagged
by the ATF as a marijuana user. As such, if a gun buyer does not choose to
disclose that they are a medical marijuana patient on their form, the ATF will not
know. That said, lying on an ATF background check form is a felony, so we do not
recommend doing that.