Federal law bans Missourians from using medical marijuana while owning a gun

Federal law bans Missourians from using medical marijuana while owning a gun
Missouri is now the 32nd state to legalize medical marijuana, but like many of those states federal guns laws prohibit any cannabis user from owning or buying a firearm while using the drug (SOURCE: KFVS)

CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) - Right now Missourians who want to get their medical marijuana card would need to need to choose between using the drug or keeping their gun.

Keeping both means you run the risk of being arrested because it’s illegal under federal gun laws for any marijuana user to possess a firearm.

Two weeks ago, state voters overwhelming passed Amendment 2, also known as New Approach Missouri, which allows doctors to recommend medical marijuana to patients with serious illnesses.

Spokesperson Jack Cardetti said the new marijuana law had the foresight to protect second amendment rights at the state level.

“Part of Amendment 2 states that medical marijuana patients that have cancer, epilepsy, PTSD and other debilitating illnesses should have the same rights as other law abiding citizens," Cardetti said. "We clearly believe that medical marijuana patients should be able to both possess and purchase a firearm. Unfortunately just like the other 32 states that have a medical marijuana program there are some federal laws that do complicate that.”

John Ham with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives said both recreational and medical marijuana is still considered a schedule 1 controlled substance at the federal level.

“Whether you cross state lines or not, it would be a violation of federal law for you to be in possession of the gun if you are a user of marijuana," Ham said. "We are in a situation where we enforce the federal laws that are given to us. Until there is a change to federal law either with marijuana being on the controlled substances list or a change to federal firearms law, the way that we enforce federal law won’t change.”

Now that more than half of all states in the nation have legalized medical cannabis, Cardetti thinks momentum is building to change federal marijuana laws.

“I think there is a good chance that marijuana will no longer be a schedule 1 narcotic," Cardetti said. "It will either be rescheduled or descheduled in the next couple of years. We think that would be a really good option that is going to help people all across the country.”

Missouri House Representative Nick Schroer of St. Louis says he plans to propose a resolution in January that urges US congress to reclassify marijuana or change the part of the federal firearm law to allow gun ownership for medical marijuana users.

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