Medical Marijuana & Gun Laws Update: New Maryland Law in the Senate
Back in February, Green Health Docs published a blog about medical marijuana and gun laws. Due to federal laws regarding marijuana, Maryland residents cannot legally purchase or possess firearms upon attaining their medical marijuana patient status. Purchasing is especially problematic because of a question on the ATF Form 4473 that individuals are required to fill out when purchasing firearms. This form forces prospective buyers to identify whether they use marijuana or not under threat of perjury. Fear not, however, as we have some exciting news regarding this issue!
The Times are Changing
A Maryland Senate bill was introduced which would attempt to make it legal for Maryland medical marijuana patients to possess and purchase firearms. This bill is a bipartisan effort by Senators Michael Hough [R] and Robert Zirkin [D] and it is important to express your support for this bill. The exact wording is as follows:
“A PERSON MAY NOT BE DENIED THE RIGHT TO PURCHASE, POSSESS, OR CARRY A FIREARM UNDER THIS TITLE SOLELY ON THE BASIS THAT THE PERSON IS AUTHORIZED TO USE MEDICAL CANNABIS UNDER TITLE 13, SUBTITLE 33 OF THE HEALTH – GENERAL ARTICLE. 20 SECTION 2.
AND BE IT FURTHER ENACTED, That this Act shall take effect October 1, 2018.“
Buy Guns Again this Fall?
Will medical marijuana patients finally be able to purchase firearms come October? Well, the truth is that this is still quite a gray area. Federally licensed gun sellers still have to ask you about your cannabis use, and lying about that will continue to be considered a federal felony, as was previously discussed in our last blog on the issue. If you answer truthfully about your marijuana use, some of these sellers may still decide to deny you because they want to play it safe and follow federal law over Maryland state laws.
Additionally, the vast majority of states (Maryland included) do not actively try to seek out and seize currently owned firearms from patients. However, if you end up in a situation where the State Police see that you have a firearm on your person and know you are a cannabis patient, they would of course be obligated to seize your firearms. The introduction of this law would make that a bit more difficult for them, but just like with gun sellers, officers may choose to follow federal law instead.
Keep Fighting for Your Rights
Ultimately, the only thing that will make it legal to purchase firearms as a cannabis patient without question is to have marijuana’s status as a Schedule 1 drug downgraded. Until that happens, courts will likely continue to side with federal law regarding guns and other addictive substances. If this law is enacted, only time will tell whether or not most gun sellers will begin allowing marijuana patients to purchase. As more laws like Senate Bill 602 crop up and as more states keep pushing back against federal marijuana laws, hopefully, it will only be a matter of time before marijuana finally loses its Schedule 1 status.
Green Health Docs will continue to research the firearm issue and will update our patients and readers as more information becomes available. We also regularly broadcast our educational sessions on Youtube and Facebook. For more information or to learn how to become a legal medical cannabis patient, call or text us at 240-356-1000.
Please note: neither the author nor any employees at Green Health Docs are lawyers or experts in gun laws.