More than 10,000 Pennsylvanians have registered so far to receive a medical marijuana card.
But they are finding out that they can’t receive medical cannabis and still be able to legally purchase a firearm. That’s because under federal law all types of marijuana, including medical cannabis, are prohibited.
The people who signed up to receive medical marijuana will be on a registry that licensed gun dealers will have to reference as part of the background check process before selling a weapon.
“People should not have to make that choice,” said Gov. Tom Wolf, who acknowledged gun sale regulations are a “federal thing.” The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives regulates the sale of firearms.
“Are you an unlawful user of, or addicted to, marijuana or any depressant, stimulant, narcotic drug, or any other controlled substance?”
Then the form contains a warning:
“The use or 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.”
Gun rights advocates received a legal setback in September 2016 when the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the federal ban on the sale of guns to medical marijuana card holders does not violate the Second Amendment. That ruling applies to the nine states in the court’s jurisdiction.
Twenty-nine states and Washington, D.C. have legalized some form of marijuana.
“The federal government needs to do the right thing here,” Wolf said.
According to the governor, the Pennsylvania State Police do not advise that if people receive medical marijuana they get rid of their guns. However, if they have questions about gun ownership and applying for medical marijuana, they should consult with their attorneys.
The one thing Wolf was clear on is that the state will not be seeking out those who already own guns.
“We’re not going to take their guns away," Wolf said.