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Does my mmj card make it illegal for me to carry a gun with a concealed pistol license?

Ellensburg, WA |

I got my mmj card after I got my cpl and I'm hearing that now my cpl may be invalid. Is this true? I can't find an answer online.

Attorney Answers 1


Unlawful users of controlled substances are prohibited from possessing firearms, ammunition, or explosives under federal law. 18 USC 922(g)(3). Marijuana is still a controlled substance under federal law. An attorney at the FBI NICS division stated that an applicant having a medical marijuana card is a "slam dunk" for a NICS denial. If that card is registered with the government, there is a good chance that it will be reported to NICS. A NICS denial means that the person is prohibited from purchasing and/or possessing a firearm. You need to consult an attorney.

This is for general informational purposes only. It does not constitute legal advice and does not establish an attorney-client relationship.

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Robert M Lorey

Robert M Lorey


I concur with Mr. Walter's analysis but wanted to amplify the federal-state interaction. Under Washington law, you are now permitted to use marijuana 1) for medical purposes with a physician's prescription and 2) for recreational purposes. There is no provision of Washington law which is incompatible with a concealed weapons permit and medical (or recreational) marijuana. The problem lies with federal law, as correctly pointed out by Mr. Walter. There is no clear guidance on the conflict between state law and federal law in this context. The answer will likely turn on who is seeking to prosecute you. If you get into the Washington state courts, and are prosecuted solely under state law, there does not appear to be a statutory violation there. If you get into the federal courts, you are in direct violation of federal law for being an unlawful user of a controlled substance while in possession of a firearm. There is no way to evaluate in advance what might happen, but it would be painful, expensive and frustrating -- no matter how it turned out for you. That said, there are not a lot of reported cases of prosecutions for a _user_ in possession of a firearm. However, you don't want to be the 'test case' going up to the U.S. Supreme Court -- primarily since you would be in jail while the case winds its way through the legal system. As a practical matter, it might be an idea worth considering to simply not carry during the time while you need medical marijuana. That is the simplest and safest (from a prosecution standpoint) way to resolve the issue. It may not be a wholly satisfactory resolution, but may be your best option. Good luck!