When Illinois first announced the legalization of recreational cannabis, residents couldn’t be happier. But, this also posed some serious concern for those with concealed carry licenses: were these cards going to be revoked? How were Illinois cannabis and gun laws going to intertwine?
“We’re hearing an awful lot of questions because there is a lot of misinformation out there,” says the president of the Federal Firearms Licensees of Illinois, Dan Eldridge. Eldridge and others—like the Illinois State Police—want to make it clear that you can own guns and have an MMJ card in Illinois.
Obtaining an Illinois MMJ card is not grounds for revoking your gun licenses. This also doesn’t automatically send your information to the federal government. The Illinois State Police have stated that adult cannabis use alone will not result in this consequence. However, there are certain circumstances where cannabis use/possession and firearm possession may result in penalties. (But, we’ll talk about those later.)
What’s important to understand here is that, as long as you’re responsibly consuming cannabis and adequately handling your firearm, you shouldn’t have any trouble possessing both an MMJ card and a concealed carry license.
Guns and MMJ Are Illegal at the Federal Level
Unfortunately, regardless of what your state says about guns and cannabis, the two together are still illegal at the federal level. Federal law has explicitly stated that you cannot possess a firearm while under the influence of any narcotic, including cannabis— medicinal or not.
Even though Illinois State Police have said that they won’t seek you out for your MMJ use and firearm possession, Eldridge wants to remind you, “You should know that you are not a legal purchaser of a firearm in Illinois or in any state if you’re using cannabis.”
We know, we know, this is all super muddy. Sadly, that’s where gun laws and cannabis stand nowadays: these regulations are confusing and function on a case-by-case basis. But, until the federal government and state governments are on the same page, these laws will continue to stay unclear.
To stay as safe as possible with your guns in Illinois—and your cannabis, of course—you should strictly adhere to state law but still be aware of your actions on a federal level. If you don’t want to risk the trouble, we’d recommend avoiding having a CCL or Firearm Owners Identification (FOID) card entirely.
The Penalties for Buying a Gun and Having an Illinois MMJ Card
As we mentioned above, there are some circumstances in which medical cannabis use can cause the denial or revocation of a CCL or FOID.
Like with all substances, there are both proper and improper consumption methods. If the state believes you to be abusing medical cannabis or show signs of addiction, they may not allow you to receive a CCL or FOID. Or, if you already have one, ISP may decide to revoke it depending on the situation.
If you’ve demonstrated problems with chronic drug use in the past, whether it be cannabis or not, you cannot own or use a firearm whatsoever. This directly reflects federal law, demonstrating the delicate balance between cannabis and gun possession in Illinois.
In general, it’s essential to recognize that just because your state allows CCLs or FOIDs alongside MMJ cards does not mean this gives you a free pass to enjoy your cannabis and firearms together. In fact, this could not be further from the truth. There are still strict penalties for those who violate the Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act.
Illinois Cannabis and Gun Laws: Why Elevate Wants to Help
Here at Elevate Holistics, we understand that cannabis laws and regulations are a bit confusing. (Okay, a lot confusing.) That’s why we’re here to help. We want to give you all the information you need to feel comfortable obtaining your Illinois medical marijuana card.
You must remember that, per federal law, gun ownership and cannabis consumption are illegal. But, Illinois state police are not actively pursuing these regulations. Rather, they are allowing safe, cautious cannabis consumers to have their CCL or FOID, no problem.
If you’re still curious about Illinois cannabis laws, or gun laws and cannabis as a whole, check out what else Elevate has to say. Soon, you’ll be more than confident going into your telehealth visit for your IL MMJ card.