Can I Keep My Guns If I Have A Missouri Marijuana Card?
Missouri Lawmakers are Working to Protect Gun-Owners Who Have a Missouri Marijuana Card
Having a medical marijuana card in Missouri means you have a right to access natural relief for a number of common qualifying conditions including chronic pain, anxiety, depression, cancer, and PTSD. But how does being on a Missouri medical marijuana patient registry affect your right to own a gun?
American As Apple Pie - Constitutional Rights and Cannabis
In Missouri, exercising your constitutional rights is as American as apple pie—especially your Second Amendment rights. According to a 2017 Pew Research survey, three in ten Americans own a type of firearm, and an additional 11 percent of respondents live with someone who owns one.
Gun laws come in and out of federal focus on a regular basis, and Missouri Marijuana Card is not here to comment on how to prevent tragic shootings, suicides, and accidental deaths due to firearms.
However, almost everyone can agree that having a medical marijuana card should not automatically block you from owning a firearm.
People on both sides of the aisle agree that using cannabis as medicine is not a reason to have your other rights taken away. However, the federal laws currently in existence put the legality of being both a gun owner and a medical marijuana user in question.
On the surface, it looks like medical marijuana card holders must choose between their right to natural relief, and their right to bear arms. But the reality is not quite so simple.
Missouri Marijuana Cardholders May Get “Wall of Protection” for Their Guns
Giving up one right in exchange for the other does not align well with American values, but conflicting state and federal laws are making some people in Missouri feel like they need to choose.
In order to end this conflict, Missouri lawmakers are working to decouple state laws from federal laws. A series of proposals has been moving through the Missouri Legislature that address issues like finances and insurance for medical marijuana business owners, marijuana registry information-sharing, parental rights, and gun laws for Missouri marijuana cardholders.
Most recently, the House Downsizing State Government Committee held a public hearing on HB 501, to discuss keeping medical marijuana patient registry information from being shared with other state agencies as well as the federal government.
If HB 501 makes it onto the legislative calendar and passes, it would be a felony for patient information to be shared outside of the registry. This means that having a medical marijuana card is securely a matter between you, your doctor, and the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services.
Lawmakers acknowledge that this is the general rule of operation as things currently stand. However, the bill’s sponsor, Nick Schroer of O’Fallon wants to “put up a wall” around the federal government and other agencies as an added layer of protection.
While you contemplate your options related to your right to bear arms, start by arming yourself with information that will help you make the best decision for you, your family, and your lifestyle. Keep reading for a comprehensive analysis of the facts surrounding gun ownership and medical marijuana in Missouri.
State Law Vs. Federal Law - Medical Marijuana
What Does Missouri Law Say About Medical Marijuana?
According to Missouri law, any adult in Missouri that has been diagnosed with a qualifying condition can get a marijuana card and visit licensed dispensaries to purchase medical marijuana products.
You can also grow your own medical marijuana with an additional cultivator license, or you can designate up to two caregivers to grow medical marijuana for you. As long as you have your plants under lock and key, you can grow up to six flowering marijuana plants, six non-flowering plants, and six clones at any given time.
What Does Federal Law Say About Medical Marijuana?
The Federal Government has been incredibly resistant to changing its stance on marijuana, regardless of the progress the majority of the rest of the country has made. Despite the fact that 33 states now have at least some form of legalization in effect and more than a third of the country thinks that marijuana should be legalized, the plant and its extracts remain a Schedule 1 controlled substance.
This means that the US Drug Enforcement Agency does not recognize any medicinal benefit to marijuana, and it is considered a dangerous substance in the same category as heroin and LSD.
Last year, the House of Representatives passed the MORE Act—the most comprehensive legalization bill in history. But it still needs to pass the Senate, and there are other priorities as of the beginning of 2021.
The most likely result will be that the DEA declassifies marijuana so that states can fully embrace the legalization they each choose to adopt, but the Senate will probably drop the other elements of the bill.
The Complicated Mix of Marijuana and Guns
Things start to get complicated when you mix marijuana and guns. Technically, you are not allowed to own or purchase a firearm in Missouri if it is against Federal law. And technically, because of draconian laws enacted by the 1968 Gun Control Act, anyone who uses a controlled substance, lives in the same household with someone who uses a controlled substance, or even hangs out with people who use controlled substances, cannot have guns in their possession.
This law was an obvious measure enabling courts to intensify charges on anyone suspected of dealing illegal drugs. The problem with this approach is that regular gun-owners who happen to also enjoy a little cannabis from time to time have had their lives destroyed as a result of zealous law enforcement.
Upholding Second Amendment Rights for Missouri Marijuana Cardholders
Missouri lawmakers are still working on developing policy that directly addresses gun-ownership by people who have a medical marijuana card. However, there are a couple of facts that point to your Second Amendment rights being protected as long as your marijuana use is within the limits of state law.
1. Missouri Businesses and Residents Acting According to State Law are Protected by the Rohrabacher-Farr Amendment
Prosecution for a federal law when you are following the guidelines set forth by the state in which you live is like Mom punishing you for something Dad said you could do. The Rohrabacher-Farr Amendment was adopted in 2014 to directly address the discrepancy between state marijuana legalization and federal laws.
It prohibits the use of federal funds for the pursuit of marijuana law enforcement in states that have adopted their own legislation. This means businesses and individuals are protected from being prosecuted at a federal level as long as they are acting within the parameters of state law.
2. The Missouri Medical Marijuana Registry Does Not Currently Share Patient Information With the Federal Government
According to the Virginia Chapter of NORML, no state that has legalized medical marijuana shares registry information with the Federal Government. This means that it will not come up on Federal background checks.
NICS Checks for Gun Purchases
Private gun purchases do not require a background check, but federally-licensed dealers must run a criminal history check through the National Instant Criminal Background Check System. It is unclear if your medical marijuana patient status would even show up since Missouri does not report that information to the federal government. However, the sticking point may be the NCIS pre-screening form, which asks a question about drug use.
If you are feeling like renegade, you could attempt to slide under the radar, since the wording of the question—”Are you an unlawful user of, or addicted to, marijuana or any depressant, stimulant, narcotic drug or any other controlled substance?”—may leave room for an honest answer of “No.”
But, you’re going to want to talk to an attorney before pushing the envelope. Lying on this form is a felony, and it can result in 10 years in prison plus a $250,000 fine.
When Will Gun and Marijuana Laws Be Clarified?
It seems unlikely that anything related to gun ownership and medical marijuana is going to be clarified before the Federal Government declassifies marijuana—which may take a few more years. In the meantime, Missouri legislators are trying to fully remove federal laws from their marijuana policies.
Some lawmakers point out that there has never been a problem with gun rights related to medical marijuana before now, but they are looking to add a barrier of protection to ensure that they won’t happen in the future.
One thing that has always been clear, however, is that prosecution for illegal marijuana use intensifies when there are guns involved—whether they were purchased legally or not.
How Can I Protect My Second Amendment Rights When I Use Medical Marijuana?
Missouri lawmakers have expressed that they believe exercising your right to natural relief does not mean you should have to give up your Second Amendment rights. They are working to make sure you are protected, and they have made it a legislative priority.
With this in mind, the most important thing you can do to protect your rights as a gun-owner who uses medical marijuana, is to ensure you are doing everything within the boundaries of Missouri law. This means making sure your firearms comply with state regulation, and having a Missouri marijuana card if you are going to possess and use medical marijuana.
Protect Your Rights - Get a Missouri Marijuana Card Today!
If you do not yet have a Missouri marijuana card and you suffer from a qualifying condition, we can help! Just give our staff a call at (877) 303-3117, or schedule an evaluation appointment online today.
When you have a Missouri marijuana card, you can be assured that your marijuana use is perfectly legal, possibly protecting your Second Amendment rights as well.
*This article is not meant to offer legal advice in any form. If you are concerned about the legal status of your gun ownership as a medical marijuana user, we advise you consult your attorney for further guidance.
Doctors Who Care. Relief You Can Trust.
At Missouri Marijuana Card, our mission is helping everyone achieve wellness safely and conveniently through increased access to medical marijuana. Our focus on education, inclusion, and acceptance will reduce stigma for our patients by providing equal access to timely information and compassionate care.
Call us at (877) 303-3117, or simply book a medical marijuana evaluation to start getting relief you can trust today!
Check out Missouri Marijuana Card’s Blog to keep up to date on the latest medical marijuana news, tips, and information. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to join the medical marijuana conversation in Missouri.