When New Jersey voted to legalize recreational cannabis in 2020, residents could not be happier. However, this brought up a few questions for gun owners who also want to enjoy the benefits of cannabis. Can MMJ cardholders even have guns? How are the New Jersey marijuana and gun laws going to mesh?
Unfortunately, not well. While some states believe strongly in citizen’s rights to bear arms, New Jersey follows what federal law has to say.
An Overview of New Jersey Marijuana and Gun Laws
Medical marijuana is legal in New Jersey, and is regulated by the Medicinal Marijuana Program. Under this program, qualified patients can purchase medical marijuana from state-licensed dispensaries. To be eligible for medical marijuana, patients must have a condition that qualifies as “debilitating” under the state’s law. Qualifying conditions include cancer, HIV/AIDS, Crohn’s disease, Multiple sclerosis, and certain other chronic or terminal illnesses. Patients must also register with the program and obtain an identification card to use at participating dispensaries.
Gun laws in New Jersey are some of the strictest in the nation. To legally own a handgun or rifle in the state of New Jersey, an individual must have a valid Firearms Purchaser Identification Card (FPIC). In order to obtain an FPIC, applicants must submit to fingerprinting and pass multiple background checks conducted with both local and state agencies. Additionally, they must complete a firearms safety course and provide proof of residence within the county where they plan to purchase firearms. All gun purchases require background checks and permits for larger capacity magazines are limited to those who can demonstrate their need for them. The current maximum capacity limit for magazines is 15 rounds per magazine in most cases.
New Jersey Marijuana and Gun Laws: What Federal Law Has to Say
In the United States, the federal government firmly opposes the use of firearms alongside cannabis consumption. For them, it does not matter whether the cannabis is medicinal or recreational. Those with cannabis and guns will be subjected to heavy fines and penalties, which is quite a severe offense in the US.
According to the Federal Gun Control Act of 1968 as well as the Federal Omnibus Consolidated Appropriations Act of 1997, it is illegal for those who belong in the following categories to possess, receive, or transport firearms:
- Those who are unlawful users of or are addicted to narcotics or any other controlled substances, including medical marijuana
- Medical marijuana users, even if state law allows the drug use
So, regardless of your cardholder status, marijuana and gun laws simply do not mix.
The Risks of Owning a Gun and Being an NJ MMJ Cardholder
As we mentioned, some states have taken it upon themselves to explicitly state that they are not imposing on gun owners’ rights who enjoy medicinal cannabis. However, state law cannot supersede federal law if a federal crime is involved. New Jersey, on the other hand, simply follows federal law to a T.
Currently, New Jersey state officials have not openly commented about gun rights and medicinal marijuana in the Garden State. Instead, it appears as though, at least for now, New Jersey marijuana and gun laws cannot co-exist. That being said, if you’re a medical patient, we would advise you to refrain from purchasing or possessing firearms. The legal punishments here may vary, but the results can be severe. You simply don’t want to risk it!
Until (and if) New Jersey officials come out to say that their procedures differ from federal law, it is best to be safe and just stick to either cannabis or guns. We know, for a lot of you, this isn’t an easy choice to make, and it’s not entirely fair to have to make it. However, cannabis laws and acceptance is growing daily, and you never know what kind of changes we might see on the federal level. We just have to be a little patient.
Elevate Wants to Help
Here at Elevate, we understand how strange and confusing the world of medical marijuana can be, especially in terms of New Jersey marijuana and gun laws. But that’s why we’re here to help. Elevate Holistics specializes in assisting everyday people in receiving the medical marijuana cards they need. Along with this, we’re prepared to answer all of your cannabis and state-related questions, helping you leave with a complete understanding of your state’s outlook on medical marijuana. If you’re ready, book an appointment through Elevate today and get started on your medical marijuana journey. (Just, make sure you avoid firearms if you’re in NJ.)