Can You Have an Ohio Medical Marijuana Card and Guns?
Technically, if you live in the Buckeye State and have a concealed-carry permit, you can’t legally purchase medical marijuana. Conversely, if you have an Ohio medical marijuana card, you theoretically can’t apply for a permit. Or purchase firearms for that matter. But that’s not because of Ohio marijuana and gun laws. Yep, you guessed it … it’s the feds. The question is, however, will will they know if you do?
Feds Continue to Kibosh Gun Rights and Marijuana
Until marijuana is no longer a Schedule I drug, it will not be federally legal to use cannabis or purchase and possess a firearm as a registered medical patient. Even if your state allows it.
When it comes to possessing medical cannabis in states where it is legal, state laws are not subject to federal laws. Fortunately, the U.S. congress has forbidden the Department of Justice to spend funds on enforcing federal cannabis law on the state level. It’s part of an appropriations bill that has been reenacted since 2014. It has even held up in court.
No Gun Rights for Ohio Medical Marijuana Patients
But no such rider bill protects state medicinal cannabis programs from the Gun Control Act (GSA). This is because of Federal Firearm Licenses or FFLs, in which the GSA requires a federal license for gun dealers. Consequently, all potential firearms buyers must fill out the ATF Firearms Transaction Record form 4473.
Question 21(e) asks prospective gun purchasers if they are “an unlawful user of, or addicted to, marijuana” and other drugs. You may think you can answer “No” because marijuana is legal in your state. But this statement immediately follows in bold:
“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.”
This means that because it is illegal federally and this is a federal form, everyone is an unlawful user according to federal law.
If you answer truthfully, the FFL dealer could lose their license if they sell the gun to you. If you lie, you could be charged with perjury.
Cannabis and gun ownership remains a muddy area that will only become clear when federal cannabis law changes.
What Are the Penalties for Purchasing or Owning a Gun with an Ohio MMJ Card?
Anyone who possesses a firearm and uses medical cannabis is in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 922. Ridiculously, the punishment for this is up to 10 years in prison and up to $250,000 in fines.
If a patient falsifies information on their background check in order to buy a gun, that’s a separate crime punishable by 5 years.
Unfortunately, the Second Amendment doesn’t protect registered MMJ patients from prosecution. In 2016, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that medical marijuana prohibitions do not violate the Second Amendment on the grounds that marijuana is linked to “irrational or unpredictable behavior.”
The Honor System for Guns and MMJ in Ohio?
In a Dayton Daily News article, Ohio Board of Pharmacy spokesman Cameron McNamee explicitly said, “The patient registry itself is protected information and only those doctors who are certified will be able to access the patient registry.”
This means the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) won’t have access to the Ohio patient registry information. NICS is the system gun dealers and law enforcement agencies use. It’s how they determine that an individual can legally possess a gun.
Furthermore, Ohio law doesn’t require a background check or federal form for same-state private firearm transactions, including many guns sold online or at gun shows. The judgment is left to the seller.
So, unless the federal government decides to begin investigating individuals, it’s extremely unlikely that they will even know your medical marijuana or gun ownership status. Most likely, one would probably have to commit a federal crime to get caught.
Elevate Holistics: Online MMJ Doctors and More
At Elevate Holistics, we want MMJ patients to understand their right to access medicinal cannabis and the scope of all that comes along with it. If you own a firearm and are a qualifying patient, you should be aware that technically you are in violation of federal law.
Elevate is an online clinic offering certifications with compassionate registered MMJ doctors. Medical cannabis patients can book same-day appointments and get certified from the convenience of their home. In addition, we are a medical cannabis resource that partners with other industry experts to help make medical marijuana as easy and accessible as possible.
Want to Know More About Medical Cannabis in Ohio?
Check out our easy guide on how to get a medical card in Ohio.
Learn how to become a caregiver in Ohio.
Find more answers with our Ohio MMJ FAQs.
Represent the Buckeye state in Elevate’s Facebook cannabis community!
See what Oklahoma’s doing to protect gun rights for MMJ patients.