Providing Clarity Behind Gun Laws & Weed in Louisiana

Sep, 2021
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Weed in Louisiana is legal for medical purposes, but that’s information that is readily available and easy to find. In fact, you probably know quite a bit about weed in Louisiana! However, there’s still one question on LA residents’ minds that seems to never be answered: can you own a gun and use weed 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. This way, we can give you a bit more clarity on the situation. 

Gun And Weed Leaf; Weed In Louisiana

The History of Weed in Louisiana

As we mentioned, weed in Louisiana is only legal 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 who are undergoing chemotherapy, the laws didn’t provide any way of patients actually accessing 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, which reduced the penalties for weed possession and outlined proper dispensing and cultivation regulations. With this, Louisianans were finally able to get access to the MMJ the state had claimed to have. 

This year, things got even better when Governor John Bel Edwards signed House Bill 652 (HB 652). HB 652 decriminalizes the possession of small amounts of marijuana. And, now, even smokable forms of MMJ are allowed when they hadn’t been before. It’s clear the state is finally making the progress they deserve. 

Surprisingly, there is still so much to learn about the history of cannabis in LA. Check out the blog we wrote about LA MMJ here.

Can You Own a Gun and Have Weed in Louisiana?

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 because 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? Well, when purchasing a gun, you have to fill out a federal background check application

One of the questions you have to answer is whether you are 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. 

The Many Complications

So, of course, if you are using cannabis in LA, even for medical purposes, you have to answer that you are an unlawful user. 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?

Another question you may ask now is what happens 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 places like Louisiana. Nothing in Louisiana law says you must give up the gun you got before getting your medical marijuana card. However, keeping your weapon may mean you are playing with jail time or 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 falsified information on their background check to buy a gun, it is also another crime punishable by five years.

Weed In Louisiana

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. T

hat remains the case unless there is declassification of marijuana as a Schedule 1 substance. Several Americans favor federal cannabis policy reform that supports that declassification.

Currently, there have been moves to address this issue at the national level. Earlier in the year, 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.

Elevate Holistics: Marijuana Doctors Coming to Louisiana Soon

We know: the technicalities surrounding gun laws and weed in Louisiana couldn’t be more unclear. Unfortunately, these muddied areas are all thanks to juxtaposing 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. 

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 room. Our team of expert medical marijuana doctors will begin to offer their services to patients in Louisiana in the months to come, helping you get your MMJ card 100% online, 100% hassle-free. 

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. Subscribe to our mailing list below to know when we fully start our operations in Louisiana.

Want to know more about getting a medical marijuana card in Louisiana? Here's a link to our in-depth How-To guide.

Curious about Louisiana marijuana laws? We've got a whole blog post about them.

Can't wait until we start LA operations? We get it. Book an appointment through our partners at Heally, instead. Just click here.