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Medical Marijuana and Guns

Posted: January 14, 2019 in Bloom Arkansas Bloom Maryland Bloom Ohio Midwest Compassion Center

There is a lot of chatter in the media swirling around whether or not a legally registered medical marijuana patient can lawfully possess a firearm. While this article is not intended to give legal advice, and every individual is encouraged to seek legal advice from an experienced attorney, I will suggest a few ideas for your consideration.

Understanding law

Medical marijuana laws are state laws. Possession of marijuana is still illegal under federal law. If, in your state, you own a legally registered firearm, and are a legally registered medical marijuana patient using marijuana in an authorized manner for the treatment of a qualifying medical condition, and there are no other illegal activities in play, there is arguably no violation of state law.

Under federal law, however, and specifically 18 U.S.C. §922(g)(3) no person “who is an unlawful user of or addicted to any controlled substance” may “possess… or… receive any firearm or ammunition.” Additionally, on September 21, 2011 the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) in their “Open Letter to All Federal Firearms Licensees,” stated: “Any person who uses or is addicted to marijuana, regardless of whether his or her State has passed legislation authorizing marijuana use for medicinal purposes, is an unlawful user of or addicted to a controlled substance, and is prohibited by Federal law from possessing firearms or ammunition.”


Any person who uses or is addicted to marijuana, regardless of whether his or her State has passed legislation authorizing marijuana use for medicinal purposes, is an unlawful user of or addicted to a controlled substance, and is prohibited by Federal law from possessing firearms or ammunition.


If you are still in doubt, Dallas-based ATF Public Information Officer Meredith Davis states, “Using a controlled substance is a prohibitor [to gun possession], similar to being convicted of a felony offense. If you hold a license to use marijuana for medical use, there’s no exception for that prohibition under federal law.”

Understanding consequences

While a state may not prosecute a legally registered medical marijuana patient with a legally registered firearm, that only applies to state authority. If a federal authority prosecutes an individual for possession of a controlled substance while armed, and that prosecution results in a felony conviction, beyond jail time and financial penalties, there are two additional matters to consider:

  1. A felony conviction may disqualify a medical marijuana patient from continued or future participation in a state’s medical marijuana program; and,
  2. A felony conviction may disqualify an individual from ever being able to legally possess a firearm again.

Understanding consequences creates a foundation for informed decision-making.

Understanding context

Bloom Medicinals recognizes the sensitivity of this subject and encourages its patients to speak with an experienced attorney in their state to discuss details of their specific questions and needs. Nevertheless, it is Bloom Medicinals’ hope that all patients will focus their energies on healing the medical condition for which they have received their medical marijuana recommendation, and on spending their days enriching their lives, and the lives of their families, friends and communities by pursuing interests which bring health, happiness and inner peace to all.

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