Gun Ownership for MMJ Patients in Virginia?

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

No. Virginia medical marijuana cardholders are prohibited from owning or possessing firearms under state law. Per the Code of Virginia, Title 18.2, Chapter 7, Article 7, Section 18.2-308.4(B), it is unlawful to have a Schedule I or II controlled substance and firearm simultaneously.

Can Virginia Medical Cannabis Patients Legally Carry Firearms Without Permits?

No. Medical cannabis patients in Virginia are not qualified to obtain gun licenses. State law bans them from knowingly possessing firearms.

Does Virginia Require Background Checks for MMJ Patients Seeking Gun Licenses?

Although Virginia conducts background checks for firearm purchases, medical marijuana cardholders in the state are not eligible for gun purchases or firearm licenses.

Can You Get a Virginia Medical Marijuana Card After Getting a Gun License?

No. Virginia law is clear on the gun ownership rights of registered medical marijuana patients. It is illegal to own a gun license and then get a medical marijuana card in the state. A person will have to choose between cannabis use and a gun. However, nothing stops a person whose medical cannabis card has expired from obtaining a firearm license in Virginia. It is also not an offense for the spouse of a medical cannabis patient in the state to own a gun.

Legal History of Gun Ownership for MMJ Patients in Virginia

Under Virginia law, it is illegal and a Class 6 felony to own a gun and a Schedule I or II controlled substance, including medical cannabis, at the same time. A violation constitutes a separate and distinct felony, and anyone convicted for the offense risks a mandatory minimum sentence of two years imprisonment.

What Federal Law Says About the Firearm Rights of Medical Marijuana Users

Marijuana is considered a controlled substance under federal law, and the Gun Control Act of 1968 (GCA) prohibits unlawful users of controlled substances from possessing firearms. As a result, it is illegal for medical marijuana patients to own gun licenses or carry firearms under federal law. In an open letter to licensed firearms dealers in 2011, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Explosives (ATF) reiterated to dealers to stop selling firearms and ammunition to unlawful users of controlled drugs, and this includes medical cannabis patients (under federal law).

Federal stance on gun ownership rights of medical marijuana users was further made clear in 2016 in the Wilson v. Lynch suit when the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the GCA. Rowan Wilson had earlier challenged the federal government and the ATF on the violation of her Second Amendment rights at a federal district court after a firearms dealer refused to oblige her request for a gun purchase. However, the district court ruled in favor of the United States and the ATF. Similarly, the appeal court, in its judgment, stipulated that cannabis is a controlled substance under federal law and unlawful users are not permitted to own guns legally. Consequently, the judge ruled that the refusal of the firearms dealer to sell the gun was not a violation of Wilson's Second Amendment rights.

Federal law requires anyone who intends to purchase a gun from a licensed firearms dealer to fill out the ATF Form 4473. While completing this form, make sure to provide accurate responses and honest disclosure to avoid facing severe penalties. For instance, the punishment for a dishonest disclosure about cannabis use on the form includes up to a 10-year imprisonment.

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