Gun Ownership for MMJ Patients in Washington?

Can You Own a Gun with a Medical Card in Washington?

No, but the Washington State Department of Health asserts that registering with the state's cannabis program does not affect patients' right to own guns. However, the state complies with federal laws on gun ownership by medical cannabis users.

Can Washington Medical Cannabis Patients Legally Carry Firearms Without Permits?

No. Medical cannabis patients cannot legally carry firearms and ammunition in Washington.

Does Washington Require Background Checks for MMJ Patients Seeking Gun Licenses?

No. Washington adheres to federal laws on gun possession and does not allow gun ownership for medical cannabis patients.

Can You Get a Washington Medical Marijuana Card After Getting a Gun License?

Yes, but obtaining a Washington medical marijuana card invalidates a patient’s gun license. However, at the expiration of their medical marijuana cards, patients may lawfully obtain concealed pistol licenses, as they are no longer deemed “unlawful users” per federal law. Furthermore, spouses of medical marijuana patients can legitimately own guns. However, such spouses must ensure their firearms are secured and concealed from medical cannabis patients.

Legal History of Gun Ownership for MMJ Patients in Washington

Although medical cannabis became legal in Washington in 1998 through Initiative 692, there is no specific legislation concerning medical marijuana patients' right to possess or own firearms in the state.

What Federal Law Says About the Firearm Rights of Medical Marijuana Users

The Gun Control Act of 1968 explicitly stipulated that unlawful users of controlled substances may not own, possess, or purchase firearms. In addition, the Controlled Substances Act&f=treesort&num=0&edition=prelim) considers marijuana as a Schedule I controlled substance, making it illegal for anyone who uses medical cannabis to own a firearm. However, the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution gives law-abiding citizens the right to bear arms.

Despite state laws legalizing medical cannabis, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF) clarified in an open letter in 2011 that medical marijuana patients are unlawful users of controlled substances. Therefore, per federal law, they are prohibited from acquiring or possessing firearms. Several lawsuits have ensued over the years to contest the ATF position and federal stance on gun ownership rights of medical cannabis patients. Notable among them is the Wilson v. Lynch case. In its ruling, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals held that one's Second Amendment rights are not violated when a request for firearm purchase is refused for a medical marijuana cardholder.

Federal law requires firearms dealers to administer the ATF Form 4473 to persons intending to acquire guns. On the form, the ATF warns that irrespective of state medical marijuana laws, medical cannabis remains federally illegal, and it still considers registered marijuana patients as unlawful users. Therefore, providing false information about one's cannabis use status on the form is a felony offense. Anyone found guilty faces penalties such as revocation of gun licenses, incarceration of up to 10 years, and fines not exceeding $250,000.

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