Legalization of medical and recreational marijuana have been spreading across the states, leading to increased struggles between state and federal legislation. But what does this mean for responsible gun owners? U.S. LawShield Independent Program Attorney, David Katz, breaks down the latest in Florida law for marijuana use in regards to possessing and owning a firearm.
Although Florida will issue medical marijuana user identification cards, the state does not recognize out-of-state medical marijuana cards. If you are traveling to Florida and have a valid medical marijuana card from another state, it is not recognized here. Furthermore, the use of marijuana, although legal in the State of Florida for certain medical conditions, is still illegal under federal law regardless of state law. This creates many issues for those whose medical needs can be best treated by marijuana use. One specific area of interest to U.S. LawShield members is medical marijuana use and firearm ownership and possession.
Under federal law, marijuana is listed as a controlled substance on Schedule 1 of the Controlled Substances Act. Since state law does not trump federal law, even in states that allow recreational or medical marijuana, possession is still a federal crime. Further, federal law states that any person who is an unlawful user of, or addicted to any controlled substance, is prohibited from shipping, transporting, receiving, or possessing firearms or ammunition. Importantly, federal law also makes it illegal for any person to sell or otherwise dispose of any firearm or ammunition to any person knowing or having reasonable cause to believe that such person is an unlawful user of or addicted to a controlled substance.
Finally, Federal Firearms Licensees, including all gun stores, may not knowingly sell a firearm or ammunition to a person who possesses a medical marijuana card under the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives’ (ATF) interpretation of the law. The possession of a medical marijuana card is reasonable cause to believe that the person is an unlawful user of a controlled substance.
Until the federal government changes the law and removes marijuana from its list of controlled substances, owning a firearm while being a user of marijuana for medical or recreational purposes will remain illegal under federal law.
Further, we have seen members arrested in Florida by the ATF for having a firearm in their possession when there were admissions to using marijuana regularly, even though they had no marijuana on them at the time.
Should you have any questions about the use of medical marijuana and the ownership or possession of a firearm, or any other firearm-related legal question, please feel free to give U.S. LawShield a call. As always, thank you for being part of the U.S. LawShield family.