Can you have a medical card and concealed weapons permit in Louisiana?
Just like any other medical marijuana question you may have, Elevate Holistics has the answers you need.
So, let’s check out what the laws say about registered MMJ patients owning a gun in Louisiana and licensed gun owners getting an MMJ card.
The History of Weed in Louisiana
As we mentioned, using weed in Louisiana is only legal if it’s for medical purposes; recreational marijuana, on the other hand, is still illegal in the state.
Surprisingly, medical cannabis has been legal in the Bayou State since 1978, when LA first enacted its therapeutic marijuana legislation.
Unfortunately, this MMJ legislation was nothing like the comprehensive ones we have today.
Though initially intended to allow medical cannabis use for those with glaucoma or undergoing chemotherapy, the laws didn’t provide any way for patients to access cannabis.
Then, in 1991, Act No. 874 legalized medical marijuana in the state. But, still, people could not start using medical marijuana at that time.
The laws existed, but they had numerous harsh provisions that did not protect patients and doctors. This left residents in the same gray area they’d been in for decades.
Finally, fast forward to 2015, former Governor Bobby Jindal signed House Bill 149 into law, reducing weed possession penalties and outlining proper dispensing and cultivation regulations.
With this, Louisianans could finally access the MMJ the state had claimed to have.
Possession of less than 14 grams of marijuana is a misdemeanor punishable by a $100 fine and no jail time. And, now, even smokable forms of MMJ are allowed.
Louisiana is finally making clear progress and expanding access to marijuana.
You can learn more about the history of cannabis in LA here.
Can You Have a Medical Card and Concealed Weapons Permit?
Gun ownership is a sensitive issue by itself, and even more so when you add marijuana to the mix. So you may wonder, can you have a medical card and concealed weapons permit?
The straightforward answer to this question is a resounding no. You cannot own a gun and use weed in Louisiana.
This position was re-emphasized in the 2011 memo by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives addressing the issue.
According to the memo, “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.”
The reason for this position is that marijuana is still classified as a Schedule 1 controlled substance under federal law, regardless of several states’ legalization for medical purposes.
How will they know you use medical marijuana if you don’t tell them?
When purchasing a gun, you fill out a federal background check application.
One of the questions asks whether you’re an unlawful user or addicted to marijuana.
A strict warning comes after the question, stating that the use or possession of marijuana remains illegal regardless of whether or not it is legal in the state where the gun buyer lives.
Simply put, the legal status of marijuana in Louisiana does not protect you from federal legislation that discriminates against marijuana users.
Gun License & MMJ Cards in Louisiana: Getting One Before the Other
Even for medical purposes, you have to answer that you are an unlawful consumer of cannabis while filling out the concealed weapon’s permit.
If you answer truthfully as a medical marijuana patient, the law forbids gun dealers from selling guns to you.
If you tell a lie and this becomes known, you have committed perjury, a crime punishable by up to 5 years imprisonment. See the problem?
What if you already own a gun before your registration as a medical marijuana patient in Louisiana?
In some states, you have to relinquish your guns upon obtaining your medical marijuana card. In others, you are allowed to keep your weapon subject to the state’s laws.
The law is silent in Louisiana — nothing in Louisiana law says you must give up the gun you have before getting your medical marijuana card.
However, keeping your weapon may mean you are playing with jail time or a fine. Basically, if a Federal Agent finds you with marijuana and a gun in your possession, this means bad news.
Are There Repercussions?
As mentioned above, yes. There are repercussions for owning a gun and using cannabis in LA.
Anyone who possesses a gun and uses medical marijuana in any state violates Title 18, United States Code, 992.
Upon conviction, it could attract a penalty of up to $250,000 and ten years imprisonment. If a patient falsifies information on their background check to buy a gun, that’s another crime punishable by five years.
So, can you have a medical card and concealed weapons permit? No, your Louisiana MMJ card constrains your right to a concealed weapons permit.
It’s not an ideal situation, but the legal reality is that you’ll have to choose between enjoying the therapeutic benefits of medical marijuana and owning a gun; you can’t have both.
MMJ, Federal Laws, and Gun Ownership
It is a tough choice for Americans who have to choose between using cannabis for their health and owning a gun for their security.
The Second Amendment, which recognizes the gun rights of Americans, does not protect registered MMJ patients from prosecution for unlawful possession.
That remains the case unless there’s a declassification of marijuana as a Schedule 1 substance.
By the way, several Americans favor federal cannabis policy reform that supports that declassification.
There have been moves to address this issue at the national level. Earlier in 2019, some Senators introduced a bill called the States Act.
The Act would allow every state to legalize and regulate cannabis as they see fit, meaning states can legislate on issues such as the use of marijuana and gun ownership.
However, until the federal marijuana laws change, LA MMJ cardholders should use serious discretion when owning a gun, as this puts them on the wrong side of the law.
And the same applies to gun owners who need to get an MMJ card.
Elevate Holistics: The Best of Medical Marijuana in Louisiana
We know: the technicalities surrounding gun laws and weed in Louisiana couldn’t be more unclear.
Unfortunately, these muddied areas are all thanks to contrasting laws our states have from the federal government.
But, no matter how confusing these laws may be, Elevate Holistics will always be here to clear things up.
Ultimately, the answer to the “Can you have a medical card and concealed weapons permit?” question is No.
Elevate Holistics offers telehealth medical marijuana services that help you get your medical marijuana card in the easiest way possible, all from the comfort of your home.
Our canna-professionals are available to hold your hand through your cannabis journey and answer all your questions to ensure that you are using cannabis within the scope of the law.