Marijuana and Firearms - What’s Legal in Missouri?
Residents of the Show-Me State are finally able to safely and legally access medical marijuana to relieve their chronic pain, anxiety, insomnia, cancer, and a long list of other qualifying conditions in Missouri. Many patients are so happy to finally be able to purchase cannabis legally that they didn’t even consider how having a marijuana card could affect their other rights, including owning and purchasing firearms.
The truth is that the law is complicated, especially in terms of how federal and state regulations seem to be in opposition. The good news is that legislators in many states—Missouri included—fully intend to protect residents who have put their faith in the state’s medical marijuana program.
Medical marijuana is good for Missouri’s economy, generating tax revenue that supports many community, safety, and social programs. Legislators want residents to rest assured in their state-sanctioned use of medical marijuana and to feel confident that they won’t have to give up their right to bear arms, just because they are being honest and forthright about seeking treatment.
Matters do get a bit more complicated when federal law comes into play. It is important to keep current on the status of regulations in place if you plan to purchase guns or hold onto the firearms you already possess while also maintaining an active Missouri medical marijuana card.
Many Gun-Owners in MO Are Already Medical Marijuana Cardholders
Nearly 150,000 Missouri residents have registered with the Department of Health and Senior Services to take part in the state’s medical marijuana program. That’s nearly 2 ½ percent of Missouri’s population. This means that between 2-3 out of every ten people are likely to be legally enjoying cannabis to treat their conditions and symptoms right now.
Even more significant than the number of cardholders is the number of gun-owners in Missouri: a staggering 48 percent of Missouri residents own a gun.
When we put these numbers together, that means the odds are high that there is a considerable overlap between gun-owners and Missouri medical marijuana card-holders. When you take into account that the patient registry has been open for more than three years, it is safe to assume that many residents have made new firearms purchases while also having a medical marijuana card.
Cannabis Is Still Against Federal Law
While medical marijuana is perfectly legal under state law, the Federal Government does not recognize any situation in which cannabis should be considered legal. It is a Schedule I controlled substance, which means that, according to the DEA, “it has no known medical applications and a high potential for abuse.”
States all over the US are exercising their independent rights, legalizing cannabis to varying degrees. Doctors and scientists all over the world are recognizing the therapeutic value of marijuana, not to mention its relative safety and potential to bring in much-needed tax revenue to the state economy.
Federal resources for enforcing marijuana prohibition are limited, and it is generally left up to the state to manage its own drug policing policies. This means that it is very difficult to enforce federal laws in states where cannabis is legal.
The Obama administration announced in 2013 that it would relax its approach to enforcement in states with new marijuana provisions, choosing instead to focus on the parts of the marijuana black market that might be damaging to communities. This included situations such as distribution to minors, cannabis revenue that funds gangs, and “violence and firearm use in growing or distributing marijuana.”
The Trump administration reversed this policy, but that reversal was largely symbolic. Resources to pursue federal marijuana law enforcement are still limited, particularly when states refuse to cooperate.
The Federal Position on Guns and Controlled Substances
When it comes to guns, you cannot have a firearm according to federal law (although it is becoming more difficult to enforce - see the section on The Second Amendment Preservation Act below) if you are using a controlled substance illegally. The Application for a Federal Firearms License (a form that must be completed for any purchase at a federally-licensed dealership) reads like this:
“Are you an unlawful user of, or addicted to, marijuana or any depressant, stimulant, narcotic drug, or any other controlled substance?
Warning: The use of 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.
Lying on this form has some steep potential penalties - up to 10 years in prison and substantial fines.
What Do Federal Cannabis and Gun Laws Mean for Medical Marijuana Cardholders in Missouri?
First of all, if you are currently a Missouri medical marijuana cardholder, you can relax knowing that you are not breaking the law by consuming cannabis. The Federal Government is more focused on using its resources to enforce its laws on combating large-scale, societally-damaging operations than with an ordinary citizen who uses cannabis to treat their medical conditions.
If you are currently in possession of a marijuana card and are a gun-owner, you most likely have little to worry about. In 2017, the Honolulu Police Chief tried asking people to turn in their guns after getting approved for medical marijuana in Hawaii, but that campaign was not a success and came to an end rather quickly.
The primary issue is with patient privacy. Most medical marijuana programs require patient information to be kept confidential, meaning any person or agency not involved in carrying out the business of the state medical marijuana program should not have access to patient information.
Missouri Medical Marijuana Patient Info Is Protected by HIPAA
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) protects the medical information of all residents, meaning it can only be accessed by the people you authorize. Other than the access required to authorize your purchases, your membership in the patient registry is mostly protected by HIPAA.
The only exception to this rule is for law enforcement officers who may need to verify your possession is legal if you get pulled over or prove to be otherwise suspect.
You Do Not Have to Register Your Guns in Missouri
The state of Missouri does not require you to register your guns. Even if you plan to carry your guns around with you. Local ordinances may have differing regulations, but there is no state law that requires a license for people 19 and over. As long as you avoid making a purchase from a federally-licensed gun dealer, nobody will even know whether or not you own a gun.
The Second Amendment Preservation Act Protects Missourians Rights
State legislators heard the voices of concerned Missourians and passed a potentially precedent-setting state gun law in Missouri this past Spring. The Second Amendment Preservation Act prohibits agencies of the state from cooperating with the federal government to enforce any law, rule, or regulation which Missouri considers an infringement on a citizen’s right to bear arms.
Each violation of this law can carry a penalty of up to $50,000. This means that, for police officers in Missouri, the federal gun regulations effectively are no longer valid.
Having Your Medical Card Protects Gun Owners From Larger Risks As medical marijuana use continues to become more widely accepted, having cannabis and a gun is less likely to get you into the kind of legal hot water you might find yourselves in if you are a gun owner who uses marijuana illegally.
The 1968 Gun Control Act targeted individuals who were selling illegal drugs. However, abuse of this statute has been widespread over the years. Police officers have been notorious for searching for guns in homes where they found illegal marijuana. This can lead to a much longer sentence even if the two are not connected in any way.
However, a medical marijuana card *might potentially provide a level of protection for cannabis patients, so long as federal law enforcement officers are not involved.
Legal Natural Relief - It’s Your Right in Missouri
In a nutshell, what we’re saying is that while federal law does prohibit gun-ownership when you have a marijuana card, Missouri’s new laws make it very difficult to enforce.
The Federal Government generally depends on the cooperation of the states in order to enforce its cannabis laws, and states that have legalized cannabis in any form have made it clear they intend to support their patients. With Misosuri’s Second Amendment Protection Act, the state is going farther than most to take care of their residents.
At Missouri Marijuana Card, we are here to answer your questions, and our telehealth services are completely private and HIPAA compliant. Schedule an appointment today, to start legally getting the natural relief you deserve.
*While every effort is made to ensure the accuracy and timeliness of the information contained in this article, it should not be construed as legal advice. We want to give you the best information as possible regarding all your concerns related to cannabis, but we are not attorneys. If you are possibly facing a legal issue related to marijuana, we advise you to contact an attorney who specializes in cannabis.
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!
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