In Oklahoma, where medical marijuana has been legalized, understanding the intricate intersection of gun laws and medical card ownership is of utmost importance.
While medical marijuana is legalized for debilitating conditions, the federal government still classifies it as illegal. This distinction raises questions about gun ownership in states where medical and recreational marijuana are legalized, creating uncertainties and challenges for individuals.
However, Oklahoma presents a different scenario. In this article, we will delve into the complexities surrounding gun laws and medical marijuana patients in Oklahoma, ensuring clarity on the regulations that affect these individuals and their rights.
Table OF Content
- 1 What Are the Gun Rights for Cannabis Users in Oklahoma?
- 2 Understanding the Federal Landscape: Marijuana’s Status as a Schedule I Substance
- 3 Oklahoma’s Unwavering Stance on Cannabis Gun Rights
- 4 According to the law:
- 5 What This Means for Current Gun Owners in Oklahoma
- 6 What This Means If You’re Interested in Purchasing a Gun in Oklahoma
- 7 Staying Informed: Marijuana Gun Laws for Oklahoma Cannabis Patients
What Are the Gun Rights for Cannabis Users in Oklahoma?
The 2nd Amendment holds different interpretations among states with marijuana programs compared to the federal government’s stance. Oklahoma, following the legalization of medical marijuana, swiftly enacted legislation to safeguard the rights of cardholders who wished to possess, purchase, or carry firearms.
But what does it mean when the state and federal governments have different perspectives on a law? How do these conflicting views impact medical marijuana users’ ability to exercise their 2nd Amendment rights?
In the following sections, we will delve into these pressing questions and provide you with a comprehensive understanding of how Oklahoma addresses the intersection of medical marijuana cardholders and their rights regarding gun ownership.
Understanding the Federal Landscape: Marijuana’s Status as a Schedule I Substance
In 2011, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) addressed a pressing concern by issuing an open letter to gun dealers across the United States, clarifying the relationship between firearms and controlled substances.
This correspondence emerged during a period when several states were beginning to legalize medical cannabis, igniting a contentious debate on how to reconcile these seemingly conflicting rights in states with legalized marijuana.
The ATF’s letter unequivocally stated that marijuana is classified as a Schedule I controlled substance under federal law. As a result, individuals who use marijuana, whether for medical or recreational purposes, are prohibited from purchasing or possessing firearms.
Moreover, the ATF explicitly forbade gun dealers from selling firearms to individuals known to be medical cannabis patients. Despite the passing years, the federal law has not changed, and this means that technically, individuals holding a medical cannabis card in Oklahoma, or any other state, are barred from buying, possessing, or carrying firearms under federal jurisdiction.
From the perspective of gun dealers, there is a reluctance to strictly adhere to these instructions. A parallel can be drawn to the situation faced by casinos in Las Vegas when adult-use marijuana was legalized in Nevada.
Casinos, regulated by the federal government, are obliged to adhere to federal laws, making it impermissible for guests to consume marijuana on their premises. Similarly, licensed gun sellers operate under federal regulations, creating a similar predicament.
Oklahoma’s Unwavering Stance on Cannabis Gun Rights
When Oklahoma legalized medical marijuana, individuals who wished to conceal carry a gun were still required to obtain a Self-Defense Act license. However, due to the federal government’s position on cannabis and gun ownership, concerns arose among individuals who would potentially be in both databases.
To address these concerns, the Oklahoma Legislature swiftly took action by passing the Unity Bill, which was signed into law on March 14, 2019.
According to the law:
“A medical marijuana patient or caregiver licensee shall not be denied the right to own, purchase, or possess a firearm, ammunition, or firearm accessories based solely on his or her status as a medical marijuana patient or caregiver licensee.”
In addition to safeguarding cannabis users’ gun rights, Oklahoma reached another milestone in November 2019 when it became a constitutional carry state. This means that individuals who are 21 years old (or 18 and in the military) and not otherwise disqualified can carry a firearm, concealed or unconcealed, without the need for a permit.
What This Means for Current Gun Owners in Oklahoma
When applying for an Oklahoma medical marijuana card, the process does not involve inquiries about gun ownership. The databases for Self-Defense Act (SDA) licensees and medical marijuana are separate entities.
Oversight of the medical marijuana database falls under the purview of state health department officials, who do not upload this information to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). NICS, employed by the federal government to conduct background checks, remains unaware of an individual’s status as a medical marijuana cardholder.
ATF has clarified that it will not divert its limited resources from addressing violent crimes and gun trafficking to pursue investigations into potential violations of federal law related to marijuana use. However, this should not be interpreted as a free pass for those engaged in federal crimes unrelated to marijuana.
Despite these clarifications, individuals who are current gun owners and medical marijuana patients still face a decision when purchasing firearms from federally licensed dealers.
When confronted with the question of marijuana use on the ATF Form 4473, which must be completed for background checks, careful consideration is necessary. It is crucial to understand the potential legal ramifications and consult legal counsel when navigating this particular aspect.
What This Means If You’re Interested in Purchasing a Gun in Oklahoma
If you hold an Oklahoma medical cannabis card, it is important to be aware that being a cardholder can provide grounds for a gun seller to deny your purchase application.
To proceed with the transaction, you will be required to complete a six-page application, which includes a direct inquiry regarding marijuana use. The application emphasizes that it is irrelevant whether you reside in a medical marijuana or decriminalized state. Selecting “yes” as your answer will result in an automatic denial while choosing “no” despite being a qualified medical marijuana patient constitutes a federal offense.
It is essential to note that what you disclose on your background check is ultimately your decision. In this regard, Oklahoma provides support, as the databases for medical marijuana cardholders and the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) remain separate and unconnected.
However, it is crucial to understand that when it comes to federal situations, your response to the application holds significance and may have legal implications.
Staying Informed: Marijuana Gun Laws for Oklahoma Cannabis Patients
At OklahomaCannabisCard.com, we are committed to ensuring that patients have a comprehensive understanding of their rights when it comes to accessing medicinal marijuana and its associated implications. It is essential for Oklahoma medical marijuana patients who also own guns to be aware that, technically, they may be violating federal law.
However, it is crucial to note that Oklahoma has enacted legislation to protect these rights, providing reassurance that individuals will not face scrutiny or interference. This protection arises from the federal government’s decision not to challenge state marijuana laws, allowing for the coexistence of medical marijuana and gun ownership in Oklahoma.
While it remains likely that the federal government will maintain its stance on cannabis as a Schedule I drug without medical value, individuals holding a medical marijuana card may continue to face an uncomfortable situation when attempting to purchase a gun.