The point of having legal medical marijuana is so that cannabis can be treated and used as a prescription medication, but the federal government does not yet see it that way; which can make gun ownership in states where medical marijuana and recreational cannabis are legal questionable at best, difficult at worst.
But not so much in Oklahoma.
What are My Cannabis Gun Rights in Oklahoma?
It’s clear that like most 2nd Amendment states that have marijuana programs, the state and the federal government have a different view on where to lay down the law. Oklahoma took immediate legislative action once medical marijuana passed to protect its citizens who wished to possess, carry, or purchase firearms. But what does it mean when the state and the federal government don’t see eye to eye on a law? We’re going to lay it out for you in this article, so you can be fully informed about having an MMJ card and owning/purchasing/carrying a gun in Oklahoma.
The Land of Federal Law—Marijuana Is Still a Schedule I Substance
Despite evolving state laws on medical marijuana, federal law, as reaffirmed by the ATF in 2011, continues to classify marijuana as a Schedule I substance.
This federal classification prohibits medical marijuana users from legally purchasing or owning firearms. However, the real-world application of this law is more complex.
Under federal law, medical marijuana users technically risk legal action if they own or purchase firearms, but enforcement primarily targets individuals with significant drug offenses or firearm law violations.
In states like Oklahoma, medical marijuana cardholders are not automatically denied concealed carry permits, with factors like criminal history and mental health playing a larger role.
Many medical marijuana users navigate this grey area by avoiding concealed firearms, seeking legal counsel, or exercising their Second Amendment rights, hoping to avoid ATF scrutiny. This situation highlights the need for individual legal advice, especially given the ongoing debate and potential changes in federal marijuana legislation.
The conflict between federal law and state rights continues to pose challenges for medical marijuana patients and gun owners alike.
Can You Own a Gun in Oklahoma with a Medical Card?
When medical marijuana was approved in Oklahoma, people who wanted to conceal carry a gun still had to have a Self-Defense Act license. Because of the federal government’s stance on marijuana and gun ownership, many people who would be in both databases became very nervous.
Oklahoma Legislature answered right away by passing the Unity Bill that was signed into law on March 14, 2019. The law states:
“A medical marijuana patient or caregiver licensee shall not be denied the right to own, purchase or possess a firearm, ammunition, or firearm accessories based solely on his or her status as a medical marijuana patient or caregiver licensee.”
Additionally, in November 2019, Oklahoma became a constitutional carry state, which means that in order to carry a gun, concealed or unconcealed, you only need to be 21 years old or at least 18 and in the military—barring they are not otherwise disqualified.
So, what does this come down to for cardholders who own or want to purchase a firearm in Oklahoma?
Can You Get a Medical Card if You Already Own a Gun in Oklahoma?
No one is going to ask you at the time that you apply for your medical marijuana card if you own a firearm. The databases maintained for medical marijuana and the Self-Defense Act licensees are completely separate. The MMJ database is overseen by state health department officials who do not upload information to the criminal background system (NICS), which is what the federal government uses to run background checks.
The ATF has said that it will not waste its time and resources to turn its focus from gun trafficking and violent crime to investigate individuals who may be violating this law. But that doesn’t mean it’s a free pass for anyone involved in a federal crime.
Also, you still have to decide how to answer when you go to purchase a gun at a federally licensed gun dealer.
Can You Buy a Gun If You Have a Medical Marijuana Card?
Owning a medical marijuana card in Oklahoma complicates the firearm purchasing process. Federal forms required for gun purchases explicitly ask about marijuana use. Under federal law, affirmative answers lead to automatic application denial, while denying marijuana use when holding a medical marijuana card is a federal offense.
It’s important to recognize the severe legal consequences of providing false information on these federal forms. Misrepresentations are not only unethical but also entail serious legal risks. Despite Oklahoma’s separate database for medical marijuana patients, this doesn’t fully shield information from federal agencies like the ATF.
Individuals in this situation should seek legal counsel for guidance. The conflicting nature of state and federal laws in this area requires professional advice to navigate. Legal counsel can help understand the risks and responsibilities associated with firearm purchases by medical marijuana cardholders. This step is vital to make informed, legally compliant decisions.
Can I Own a Gun If I Have an Expired Medical Card in Oklahoma?
In Oklahoma, the laws surrounding gun ownership and medical marijuana cards, including expired ones, can be complex. Once your medical marijuana card expires, it does not automatically reinstate your federal rights to purchase or own firearms.
Under federal law, the use of marijuana is still illegal, and individuals who use or are addicted to controlled substances, including marijuana, are prohibited from possessing firearms or ammunition. Therefore, even with an expired medical card, if you have previously acknowledged marijuana use, it could affect your ability to pass a federal background check for gun ownership.
It’s crucial to understand both state and federal laws and how they interact with each other regarding gun ownership and marijuana use.
Marijuana Gun Laws: Keeping Oklahoma Cannabis Patients Informed
At Elevate Holistics, we want medical marijuana cardholders to understand their right to access medicinal cannabis and the scope of all that comes along with it. If you own a firearm and are a qualifying patient, you should be aware that technically you are in violation of federal law.
But also know that in Oklahoma, legislation has been enacted to protect these rights within the jurisdiction of the state. No one is going to come to check on you.
Still, technically you (and all medical marijuana patients in all the states) are also in violation of federal law for possessing and using cannabis. It’s simply that the federal government has chosen not to challenge states on their decisions regarding marijuana laws. It seems that aside from organized crime, federal law enforcement chooses not to police state populations.
It’s likely that until the federal government can relinquish its obstinate assertion that cannabis is a Schedule I drug with no medical value, having a medical marijuana card will continue to put cardholders in an awkward situation when they go to purchase a gun.
Still, have questions about your rights and marijuana gun laws in Oklahoma?
Read our Oklahoma FAQ or contact Elevate Holistics today and speak with a compassionate medical marijuana doctor near you!
If you’re ready to speak with a physician about a medical marijuana recommendation, we’ll do the appointment for $75 using the coupon $25OFF. You can get started here.