Gun Ownership for MMJ Patients in North Dakota?

Can You Own a Gun with a Medical Card in North Dakota?

No. While North Dakota has no specific law restricting medical marijuana cardholders from purchasing guns, medical marijuana users will not be able to purchase firearms due to federal restrictions. Anyone wishing to buy a gun legally must complete a firearms transaction record form provided by the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF). According to ATF rules, licensed firearms dealers are prohibited from selling guns to marijuana users. This also means that medical marijuana cardholders caught with firearms will be prosecuted under federal law.

Can North Dakota Medical Cannabis Patients Legally Carry Firearms Without Permits?

Medical marijuana patients in North Dakota cannot carry firearms, with or without a state permit, pursuant to federal law. MMJ patients carrying firearms may be punished under federal regulations.

Does North Dakota Require Background Checks for MMJ Patients Seeking Gun Licenses?

Anyone purchasing a gun from a licensed seller will undergo a background check after fulfilling ATF requirements and completing the Firearms Transaction Records form. During their background checks, North Dakota MMJ patients who indicate marijuana use on their forms will have their applications disqualified.

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

You may be able to obtain a North Dakota medical marijuana card after getting a gun license. However, North Dakota’s medical marijuana laws state that disclosure of possession of a firearm by a person who possesses marijuana may be a violation of federal law. Note that possessing a North Dakota medical cannabis card and a gun license is illegal according to federal regulations.

Legal History of Gun Ownership for MMJ Patients in North Dakota

The most recent legislation relating to gun rights for medical marijuana patients was in 2019. Senate Bill 2140, introduced in the North Dakota House in 2019, intended to lay the groundwork for firearm confiscation of North Dakota medical marijuana patients. SB 2140 proposed that individuals who register as qualifying patients under the North Dakota medical marijuana program will have their names, driver's license numbers, and dates of birth released to the Bureau of Criminal Investigation to determine whether they can legally possess firearms. However, the bill did not become law in North Dakota.

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

The federal position on gun ownership for medical marijuana patients is clear: individuals who are unlawful users of or addicted to controlled substances are prohibited from possessing firearms. This prohibition applies even in states where medical marijuana is legal.

The Gun Control Act (GCA) of 1968 is the primary federal law regulating the sale and possession of firearms in the United States. The GCA prohibits individuals considered unlawful or addicted cannabis users from possessing firearms.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) enforces the GCA and other federal firearms laws. When buying a firearm from a licensed dealer, individuals must complete Form 4473, which includes a question about whether the purchaser is a current or past user of illegal drugs. Lying on Form 4473 is a federal crime that may result in up to 10 years in prison.

The restriction on MMJ patients purchasing firearms has been challenged severally across the nation, with many plaintiffs claiming that the GCA infringed on their Second Amendment rights. The Second Amendment is often interpreted as protecting an individual's right to own and carry firearms.

In 2016, the Supreme Court ruled in the case of Wilson v. Lynch that the GCA's prohibition on gun ownership for individuals who are "addicted to the use of marijuana" is constitutional. The Court found that Congress had a rational basis for concluding that marijuana addiction could pose a danger to public safety and that the GCA was a reasonable means of addressing this concern.

In 2022, Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried filed a lawsuit challenging the federal prohibition on gun ownership for medical marijuana patients. Fried argued that the ban violates the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms. The case is pending in the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Until the federal law is changed, medical marijuana patients who are considering purchasing or possessing firearms should be aware of the risks involved.

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