Will Medical Marijuana Use Limit Your Gun Rights?
As the medical marijuana program in Pennsylvania moves forward in 2018, conflicts have arisen between state and federal law regulations involving a difficult issue. The conflict involves whether individuals who use marijuana in the state for authorized medical purposes can also legally own and purchase a firearm. How do a person’s federal gun rights conflict with their use of state-authorized medical marijuana?
In regard to whether it is lawful to purchase a firearm with a medical marijuana license, the answer presently is: no.
As it concerns possessing a firearm with such a license, technically the answer is “no” as well, due to federal law. However, whether the state will actually enforce that prohibition seems unlikely in the practical sense.
If you are facing a weapons charge in Pennsylvania, you need help from an experienced firearms lawyer who understands how the prosecution works and how to fight intelligently on your behalf. At Worgul, Sarna & Ness, Criminal Defense Attorneys, LLC, we have your defense covered from start to finish.
Call us today at (412) 281-2146 or use our contact form to request a free, initial consultation.
Federal Law Colliding with PA State Law
Federal law does not recognize the individual medical marijuana laws that have been passed in various states, including Pennsylvania. Therefore, from the perspective of the federal government, individuals who are enrolled in these programs are categorized as an unlawful user of a controlled substance. This makes them ineligible to possess, acquire, purchase, or control a firearm.
In fact, the form that prospective firearm purchasers are required to complete specifically states, “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 issue affects more than just a few Pennsylvanians. As of early this year, more than 10,000 Pennsylvanians had registered with the state’s medical marijuana program. Of course, the number of gun owners in the state is much larger.
The only way the federal and state laws concerning the use of medical marijuana and the right to possess and purchase firearms can be reconciled is through an act of Congress.
Will PA Confiscate Guns from Medical Marijuana Patients?
Persons who live in households with a registered medical marijuana patient technically need to consider the ramifications as it concerns their right to keep and bear arms under the Second Amendment. Even Pennsylvania State Police spokesman Ryan Tarkowski recently stated that it is “unlawful to keep possession of firearms obtained prior to registering.” He also suggested obtaining legal counsel if you have possessed firearms prior to seeking a medical marijuana card. In other words, your gun rights are in jeopardy.
However, Pennsylvania State Police are not currently considering implementing a program that requires people to turn in existing firearms. For the most part, this type of action has also not occurred in other states with similar programs. Even though the likelihood of gun confiscation based on the use of medical marijuana currently seems unlikely, the waters are still left muddy concerning how the state government may proceed on this issue in the future.
Contact an Experienced Firearms Attorney Today
The potential penalties associated with a weapons charge can be quite serious and life-changing. If you have been charged with a firearms offense, Worgul, Sarna & Ness, Criminal Defense Attorneys, LLC offers strong advocacy on your behalf. Complete our contact form or call us today at (412) 281-2146 to set up a free case evaluation.