The Mazza Law Group, P.C.
2790 W. College Ave., Suite 800
State College, PA 16801 March 10, 2016
(814) 237-6255

FIREARM RIGHTS RESTRICTED DUE TO MEDICAL MARIJUANA CARD

Obtaining a license to use medical marijuana prevents an individual from lawfully possessing a firearm. This can come as a shock to residents of Pennsylvania- which has recently enacted legislation permitting the possession and use of medical marijuana for serious medical conditions.

However, the federal government has not legalized marijuana in any form, and the United States Department of Justice, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (BATFE) considers it an unlawful substance.  Notably, an open letter from BAFTE issued in 2011 states:  “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.”  The letter goes on to advise federally licensed gun dealers to deny a sale to an individual if they are aware that person has a medical marijuana license.

Accordingly, the Pennsylvania State Police have issued this caution to potential purchasers and firearms dealers:  “[T]he mere possession of a Medical Marijuana Card will give rise to an inference that you are an ‘unlawful user of or addicted to’ a controlled substance”, thus making you ineligible to purchase or possess firearms or ammunition under federal law. Additionally, a medical marijuana license holder may not obtain or renew a concealed carry permit.  An individual who is prohibited from acquiring or possessing a firearm under federal law is not eligible to obtain such a permit under 18 Pa.C.S.A. 6109 (e)(1)(xiv).

There may be other consequences of marijuana possession and use for certain individuals, so in addition to speaking with your physician, it would be wise to consult with an attorney prior to obtaining a medical marijuana license.

If you have questions about your state and/or federal rights to possess a firearm, contact the experienced attorneys at the Mazza Law Group, PC.