Can MS, Medical Marijuana, and Guns Safely Coexist?
U.S. federal law prevents medical marijuana users from owning guns
It seems to me from my anecdotal observations that a fair number of people living with multiple sclerosis (MS) have a gun. When I wrote about the issue a few years ago, I discovered that more people than I expected had both a gun and MS. Additionally, many people with MS use some form of medical marijuana. So should a person using medical marijuana be allowed to have a gun?
U.S. federal law prohibits anyone who unlawfully uses a controlled substance from possessing a firearm or ammunition. Even though many states have legalized the use of marijuana for medical and recreational purposes, in the eyes of the federal government, anyone using marijuana, even medically, is an unlawful user of a controlled substance.
A few years ago, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) even added a warning about this on Form 4473, which must be filled out when purchasing a gun from a dealer. It reads: “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.”
Under federal law, you can’t have a gun and possess marijuana.
Florida is suing to change this
This issue recently was raised in Florida. The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, which issues concealed weapons permits, is challenging the federal rules on gun ownership and marijuana use. The department filed a lawsuit last spring arguing that the rules “forbid Floridians from possessing or purchasing a firearm on the sole basis that they are state-law-abiding medical marijuana patients,” CBS Miami reported.
The lawsuit includes plaintiffs who are medical marijuana patients and want to own guns, along with a plaintiff who is a gun owner and wants to participate in Florida’s medical marijuana program.
Will Hall, a lawyer representing the plaintiffs, told The News Service of Florida that the regulation prohibiting medical marijuana users from owning guns makes people “less safe” by forcing people to purchase guns privately rather than from a store that follows ATF protocols.
An informal survey taken by an online MS group about five years ago indicated that most people with MS are interested in using medical marijuana, and many of them, including me, have tried it.
I’m concerned about mixing medical marijuana and guns. I’ve never owned a gun, but over the years, I’ve fired rifles and handguns. My belief is that if the THC/CBD blend in the cannabis products I was using was strong enough to ease my symptoms, then I was “stoned” and would be totally unable to accurately — or responsibly — fire a weapon.
Note: Multiple Sclerosis News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Multiple Sclerosis News Today or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to multiple sclerosis.