Everything About PA Medical Marijuana And Guns

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Information For All PA Medical Marijuana Cardholders

The legalization of medical marijuana in Pennsylvania has meant that countless patients in PA have been able to improve their quality of life via the prescribed use of medical cannabis. Possessing a medical marijuana card enables citizens of the state to purchase medical cannabis from any approved dispensary and thus benefit from the pain-reducing effects of licensed use.

Although the controlled use of marijuana for approved medical use is permissible in PA, cardholders are not exempt from all marijuana laws. In fact, the misuse of marijuana in a public place or at home is still a federal crime.

Gun Laws For PA Medical Marijuana Patients

Although the proper use of licensed medical marijuana is legal in Pennsylvania, the drug is still a violation of federal law in the United States. This means that as per the United States Department of Justice, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (BATFE), the possession of marijuana, even among cardholders, prohibits the purchase or acquisition of firearms.

In the eyes of the United States law, the use of medical marijuana classes you as an “unlawful user of or addicted to any controlled substance”. This means you are not legally allowed to purchase, possess, or control a firearm pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(3), and 27 C.F.R. § 478.32(a)(3).

Why Medical Marijuana And Guns Are Not Allowed In Pennsylvania

The BAFTE stated in an open letter to all Firearms Licensees that “any person who uses or is addicted to marijuana, regardless of whether his or her State has passed legislation authorizing marijuana use for medicinal purposes, is an unlawful user of or addicted to a controlled substance, and is prohibited by Federal law from possessing firearms or ammunition.” 

Being a medical marijuana cardholder subsequently bars you from being able to make an application, possess, or renew a Pennsylvania License to Carry a Concealed Weapon (CCW).

To clarify, even if state law permits the use of medical or recreational marijuana, federal law prohibits marijuana users from using or purchasing a firearm. It’s as simple as that.

Can You Have A PA MMJ Card And A Concealed Carry License?

The consequence of this federal law is that you cannot be in possession of a medical marijuana permit and be a gun owner at the same time.

As you cannot legally possess a firearm, it is also illegal to apply or own a CCW permit. The federal government has declared that there are to be no exceptions to this rule.

Pennsylvania CCW Licence Requirments  

In order to possess a Concealed Carry Licence (CCW) in the state of Pennsylvania, applicants must undergo a comprehensive background check and meet strict federal requirements.

Following the background check, it must be confirmed that applicants have no criminal convictions and are of good character and reputation. They must be at least 21 years of age with valid ID and must be a resident (minimum 90 days) of the county the application is filed for. They must also not be a habitual drunkard or be a user of marijuana or any other stimulant, depressant, or narcotic drugs. This covers both recreational and proper medicinal use of cannabis.

Can You Buy Guns And Own A Pennsylvania Medical Marijuana Card?

If you own a Pennsylvania card for medical marijuana, you cannot buy a gun. There is unfortunately no way around it. When you apply for your license, you will be asked if you use medical marijuana. If you answer yes, you will be denied the license. If you falsely answer no, you could end up facing criminal charges for attempting to purchase a firearm by falsifying information.

In short, you cannot buy a gun if you use medical marijuana recreationally or medicinally. In the eyes of federal law, drug use and gun ownership are mutually exclusive.

You Received Your Medical Marijuana Card But You Own A Gun, Now What?

Once you become a medical marijuana cardholder, you become prohibited from possessing a firearm. Even if you have been a longtime gun owner, your gun rights are forfeited when you become a cannabis user.

From the moment you receive your card, you have a maximum of 60 days to sell or transfer your firearm to an eligible person outside your household. If you do not relinquish your gun ownership within 60 days, your possession becomes illegal. It is therefore advised that arrangements are made to transfer ownership of any guns as soon as the card application has been approved.

More Questions About PA Medical Marijuana And Firearms

If your significant other has marijuana in the house, does it impact your right to possess firearms?

Unfortunately, the answer to this question is not black and white. If your partner is a cannabis user and does not own any guns then they are not breaking the law. If you own guns and do not use marijuana medically or recreationally, then you are not technically committing any crime.

The difficulty is that you must be able to prove to the federal government that you are not an “unlawful user” of marijuana. If you are unable to do this, you should err on the side of caution or you could risk getting into trouble with law enforcement officers. If you cannot prove that you do not use the drug, you could find yourself in a tricky situation.

Simply because your significant other uses medical marijuana, does that mean that you are an unlawful user? 

If your partner is a marijuana user, this does not automatically make you guilty of simultaneously being an unlawful user of marijuana and a person in possession of firearms. That said, simple possession of marijuana is a crime under federal law. 

If you are in possession of the drug in your home, even if you are not a user, you can still be charged with the crime of illegally possessing firearms. If law enforcement suspects that you recreationally use your partner’s medicinal cannabis, you could find yourself in a court of law.


The information contained on this website is provided as a service to the Pennsylvania community and does not constitute legal advice. Although we attempt to address some areas of concealed carry and gun laws in Pennsylvania, we make no claims, representations, warranties, promises, or guarantees as to the accuracy, completeness, or adequacy of the information disclosed. Legal advice must always be tailored to the individual facts and circumstances of each individual case. Laws are constantly changing, and as such, nothing contained on this website should be used as a substitute for the advice of a lawyer for a specific case.

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