We all understand the tragedies that guns can cause, especially since its violence is so prevalent in America. But, is there a link between gun laws and owning a Montana medical card?

Living in Montana — considered the hunter’s paradise — you may consider owning a gun so you can hunt in the wild at your leisure. In fact, Montana has some of the most permissive gun laws in the United States, but there are still some restrictions that you need to know as a registered holder of a Montana medical card. And one of those restrictions comes in the area of gun ownership/possession. 

So, before you head out to get a gun or start your medical card process, you need to know the current position of Montana gun laws and how it affects a registered holder of a Montana medical card.

Montana medical card

What To Know About Having a Montana Medical Card

To enjoy complete legal protection as a qualified patient under the Montana medical marijuana law, you must register with the Quality Assurance Division of the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services. The Department issues the medical card in the state, and with the card comes so many benefits. 

For instance, you get to obtain medical marijuana from dispensaries at a lower cost with reduced taxes. In addition, you get access to higher potency limits to alleviate symptoms of your conditions because you may need access to high-strength cannabis.

However, even with these benefits, being a medical marijuana cardholder in most states may mean that your access to certain rights is restricted. One of such is your ability to own a gun in Montana legally.

Can You Own a Gun with a Medical Card in Montana?

According to the US Constitution, Americans have the right to bear arms, and the US congress shall not infringe this right. However, federal regulations, on the other hand, prohibits citizens who consume marijuana from owning guns. While some states have refuted this, Montana is not one of them.  

Marijuana is still an illegal substance to use or possess under federal law, regardless of the legality of medical marijuana in your state. Thus, if you use or possess marijuana for medical purposes, these federal laws, which apply to all states, including Montana, prohibit you from owning or purchasing a firearm. Therefore, you cannot lay claims to your gun rights contained in the Second Amendment.

The primary reason behind restricting gun rights initially was to prevent people addicted to this drug, which was deemed so dangerous, from possessing a gun. That is to avoid occasions where an addict resorts to criminal acts to obtain money to get the substance. 

However, advocates of medical marijuana and its legalization have stated that this law punishes people who take marijuana as medicine for medical conditions. This is quite unfair, as doctors have certified it necessary for their wellbeing.

What Happens If You Buy a Gun and Have an MT MMJ Card?

Typically at the point of purchasing a firearm, you will receive an ATF Form 4473 to fill, and this includes Question 21(e)

“Are you an unlawful user of, or addicted to marijuana or any depressant, stimulant, narcotic drug, or any other controlled substance?

This question comes with a warning: The use or possession of marijuana remains unlawful under Federal law regardless of whether it has been legalized or decriminalized for medicinal or recreational purposes in the State where you reside

The form also contains the following caution:

“I understand that a person who answers “yes” to any of the questions 21.b. through 21.k. is prohibited from receiving or possessing a firearm... I also understand that making any false oral or written statement, or exhibiting any false or misrepresented identification with respect to this transaction, is a crime punishable as a felony under Federal law and may also violate State and/or local law.”

However, there is a bill in Congress that seeks to protect Second Amendment rights for marijuana consumers. This bill would exempt people in legalized states from the federal restriction that bans any “unlawful user” of a controlled substance from owning a firearm.  The Gun Rights and Marijuana Act, also known as H.R. 2830, contains a short proviso to the existing federal law stating that:

The term unlawful user of or addicted to any controlled substance’  shall not include a person by reason of unlawful use or addiction to marijuana.”

Legislators have referred the bill to the House Judiciary Committee. However, until the bill becomes law, you are not legally allowed to use medical marijuana and hold a gun in Montana. (We’ll cross our fingers for you, MT.)

What are the Penalties for Purchasing or Owning a Firearm with a Montana Medical Card?

Federal laws provide that users of a controlled substance are prohibited from purchasing, possessing a firearm or ammunition, regardless of what your state law permits. Under federal law, you are an unlawful user of a controlled substance as a medical marijuana patient. (We know, we know. Groan.)

 The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld this rule.  According to Title 18, United States Code, Section 924 (a) (2), the maximum penalties for possessing a firearm is ten years and a fine of $250,000.

From what we know, the primary danger for medical marijuana users who also seek to buy or own a firearm in Montana is the likelihood of committing fraud when completing, signing, and certifying the ATF Form 4473

You should note that completing this form at the point of purchasing a firearm is compulsory.  If you lie on the face of it that you are not a user of marijuana, you commit perjury. This can result in several years imprisonment.

Elevate Holistics: Your Favorite MT Medical Marijuana Doctors

As your MMJ doctor, we are not just concerned about how you access medical marijuana; we also want to ensure that you are using it within the confines of the law. And, if you are a medical marijuana user in Montana who owns a gun, you are violating the federal law. Unfortunately, it’s as simple as that.

At Elevate Holistics, our services are currently unavailable to patients in Montana, but we will soon be available to help you get your Montana medical card.  Getting your medical marijuana card in the easiest way possible is our priority, and we cannot wait to help you on your wellness journey. Subscribe to our newsletter below to get firsthand updates when we officially commence operations in Montana. 

If you have more questions about Montana medical cards, gun laws, or anything in between, feel free to contact us. We’re always here to help. 

Want to know more about getting a Montana medical marijuana card? Here's the step-by-step process.

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

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