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Can You Own a Gun With a Medical Marijuana Card in Louisiana?

  • Unfortunately, if you use medical marijuana, you can’t own a gun.
  • Federal law prohibits marijuana users from owning or possessing firearms, even if they already have a legally registered gun or a concealed carry permit. You can turn in your firearm while you have a non-expired cannabis card, and you can’t buy new guns or get a new permit while actively using marijuana.
  • Disregarding this law could land you in legal hot water.

Gun ownership and the right to bear arms are already sensitive and highly debated topics. When you throw marijuana into the mix, you set the stage for even more controversy.

To make a long story short and sweet: because of federal laws and regulations, you can’t own a gun and have an active medical cannabis card at the same time—no matter where you live.

In this guide, we’ll break down the federal and state laws that address gun ownership. Take a dive with us into the history of marijuana use in Louisiana, the reasons behind gun control laws, and the potential consequences you may face if you try to keep your gun anyway.

Don’t worry, though: you aren’t banned from owning a gun for life. The limitation only lasts as long as your medical cannabis card does, so this isn’t a permanent trade-off.

A Quick Look at Medical Marijuana’s History in Louisiana

This may come as a surprise, but cannabis has been a legal medical tool in Louisiana since 1978. It was initially prescribed for glaucoma or chemotherapy patients, though it was virtually impossible for said patients to get their hands on cannabis.

In 1991, Act No. 874 legalized marijuana but didn’t provide:

  • A system for patients to access cannabis, or
  • A legal recommendation system for healthcare providers

Basically, nothing changed in practice, even if the legalities changed on paper.

Finally, in 2015, House Bill 149 reduced marijuana possession penalties. It also introduced laws for cultivating marijuana and created the current dispensary system that exists to this day.

Throughout this time, there have remained a few legal constancies:

  • Recreational marijuana has always been illegal in Louisiana.
  • There are penalties for unlawful marijuana use.
  • Possessing a firearm while using or possessing marijuana is illegal.

But why can’t you own firearms and use legal medical marijuana? To understand why, let’s touch on federal laws.

Federal Laws About Medical Marijuana and Gun Rights

According to the Gun Control Act of 1968, some people can’t possess firearms or ammunition. This includes anyone who uses any of the controlled substances listed in the Controlled Substances Act, which—as you’ve likely guessed—includes marijuana.

Despite the fact that several states, Louisiana included, have legalized marijuana in some form, federal law still takes precedence. Here are a few historical points of note for gun owners who use marijuana.

  • The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives reiterated in a 2011 letter that anyone possessing a firearm can’t use marijuana.
  • The 2016 Lynch vs. Wilson case saw the court ruling in favor of upholding these laws (but decisions related to the Lynch case are due to be heard by the US Supreme Court, potentially in 2024).
  • To this day, it’s still illegal to use medical marijuana or buy or keep firearms.

Second Amendment rights are just one of the many reasons why cannabis card holders fight to decriminalize marijuana. With its current classification as a Schedule I drug, the federal stance on firearm ownership for cannabis users won’t change—barring any upcoming Supreme Court appeals (which could be on the docket soon).

State Laws for Medical Marijuana Use

If you want to know how to get a cannabis card, look into the state laws regulating marijuana. There are a few key points to keep in mind about how Louisiana treats the plant.

  • Recreational marijuana is still illegal, meaning you must have a cannabis card to consume it.
  • To qualify for your cannabis card, you must have a provider’s recommendation, but clinicians in Louisiana can recommend cannabis for any condition they think could benefit from marijuana treatment.
  • You can only buy marijuana from government-sanctioned pharmacies; your provider will help you find one when they submit your recommendation.
  • Under current law, you can only purchase 2.5 ounces of medical marijuana every 14 days.

As you can see, providers play a big role in your medical marijuana journey. In fact, they can decide whether you’re eligible for a medical cannabis card at all.

This is why it’s important to have an ally like TeleLeaf in your corner. We work together with a network of providers who are open-minded about using natural, alternative medicinal tools in your healing journey.

Gun Ownership as a Medical Marijuana Card Holder

Once you get your cannabis card online, you’re legally excluded from gun ownership. But how is this enforced, practically speaking?

When you buy a gun from an FLL-licensed firearm dealer, you’ll have to fill out Form 4473 (Firearms Transactions Record).

This form asks questions about your personal history, including whether or not you:

  • Use marijuana, which is still illegal under federal law
  • Use other stimulants, depressants, narcotics, or controlled substances
  • Have an addiction to any of the aforementioned substances

If you’re thinking of lying on the form: don’t. Making false claims on Form 4473 is a felony, and it can net you up to 10 years in federal prison if you’re caught.

Note that your spouse can still legally own and possess a gun even if you have a medical marijuana card, but you legally won’t be allowed to use it.

Additionally, as soon as your cannabis card expires and you no longer use medical marijuana, you can apply for your concealed carry permit and purchase firearms again.

Gun Ownership Predating a Medical Cannabis Card

What happens if you buy a gun, get your license to carry and then you get your medical marijuana card?

Unfortunately, you haven’t found a loophole here. Some states require you to turn your firearms in after getting your cannabis card online.

Others, like Louisiana, are “silent”—meaning they aren’t going to force you to turn in your gun, but keeping it could result in:

  • Fines or fees
  • Time in jail
  • Prohibition from buying firearms in the future

Since you can otherwise legally keep firearms again after you stop using cannabis, this is a risk you’re better off avoiding.

What About Concealed Weapons Permits?

Owning a gun is still illegal if you use medical marijuana, no matter what permits you had beforehand. Even if you have a concealed carry permit that was valid before you became a medical marijuana patient, it no longer applies while you’re actively using marijuana.

What If You Carry a Gun Anyway?

Simply put: don’t. If you possess a gun and use marijuana, you’re violating Title 18, United States Code, 992.

If caught, you can expect:

  • A penalty of up to $250,000
  • Up to 10 years in federal prison
  • 5 additional years for falsifying information on your background check

Essentially, if you want to enjoy the healing benefits of medical cannabis, you’ll have to set aside your right to bear arms for now.

Getting the Most Out of Your Medical Cannabis Card

TeleLeaf makes it a breeze to apply for your cannabis card online. Testimonials from people seeking relief vouch for the importance of marijuana as a healing tool. When you choose medical marijuana, you’re opening a valuable path to recovery that—for many patients—is worth some concessions.

You won’t have to go through the process alone, either. We at TeleLeaf have been in your position. We understand the time and mental energy it takes to find a provider you’re compatible with, especially if you have reservations about trying cannabis. That’s why we’re committed to taking the stress out of your cannabis journey.

When you’re ready to get your cannabis card the simple way, contact us to schedule your first appointment.


Sources:

TeleLeaf. Healing Naturally: Discovering the Benefits of Medical Marijuana in Louisiana.
https://www.teleleaf.com/discovering-the-benefits-of-medical-marijuana-in-louisiana/

U.S. Department of Justice. Gun Control Act of 1968.
https://www.ojp.gov/taxonomy/term/gun-control-act-1968

United States Code. Subchapter I – Control and Enforcement.
https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/USCODE-2014-title21/html/USCODE-2014-title21-chap13-subchapI.htm

Marijuana Moment. Supreme Court Weighs Case Challenging Federal Gun Ban For Marijuana Users, Congressional Researchers Report In Legal Brief.
https://www.marijuanamoment.net/supreme-court-weighs-case-challenging-federal-gun-ban-for-marijuana-users-congressional-researchers-report-in-legal-brief/

SB Online Magazine. What are Louisiana’s Medical Marijuana Laws?
https://sbmag.net/what-are-louisianas-medical-marijuana-laws/

U.S. Department of Justice. Firearms Transaction Record.
https://www.atf.gov/firearms/docs/4473-part-1-firearms-transaction-record-over-counter-atf-form-53009/download

Cornell Law School. 18 U.S. Code 922 – Unlawful Acts.
https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/18/922

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