The topic of medical cannabis consumers being forced to choose between the Second Amendment right to bear arms or becoming a medical cannabis patient has been a disputed discussion in many states. Currently in Maryland, one group is reminding local residents that there needs to be clarity when defining the rules regarding gun ownership and cannabis consumption.
“I just want people to be aware,” said Mark Pennak, president of the gun rights group Maryland Shall Issue®. Former U.S. Department of Justice lawyer Pennak posted a notice on the group’s website discussing the legal issues. “There’s so many ins and outs to gun laws, so many pitfalls and traps, this is probably one that’s easily overlooked,” he told The Baltimore Sun.
Part of the notice reads, “The AFT has issued a bulletin to all Federal Firearms Licensees that advises FFLs that ‘if you are aware that the potential transferee is in possession of a card authorizing the possession and use of marijuana under State law, then you have ‘reasonable cause to believe’ that the person is an unlawful user of a controlled substance . . . That means that the FFL (or any other person with such knowledge) is prohibited from selling a firearm to such a person with a medical marijuana card. Indeed, both federal form 4473 and state form 77R specifically state that medical marijuana users may not purchase firearms.”
Chad Fox, owner of Fox’s Firearms in Columbia, Maryland, said that he believes that medical cannabis is considered drug use on the form that prospective gun buyers are required to fill out in his store when applying for or purchasing a firearm. “Basically, anyone that smokes marijuana has to answer yes to that question,” Fox said. “They do that, I can’t sell them a firearm.”
Other states have already stepped into the legal battle surrounding medical cannabis and the Second Amendment. Pennsylvania recently reminded residents that even though medical cannabis is allowed legally under state law, those carrying medical cannabis cards are prohibited from owning firearms or ammunition. And in California, a federal appeals court ruled that a medical cannabis cards was grounds enough to deny a firearm.