There is a lot of confusion when it comes to the legality of carrying, purchasing and possessing a firearm. The article below was written in hopes of providing basic information about medical marijuana and concealed carry. 

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So can a Michigan medical marijuana patient carry a concealed firearm? The answer is YES, absolutely and legally, but only under the right circumstances. In order to fully understand, it will require an explanation of both Michigan and Federal law.

Michigan law does not prohibit marijuana users from obtaining a permit to carry a concealed pistol (CPL)

First, it must be made clear that Michigan law does prohibit a person that is under the influence of marijuana from being in possession of a firearm. Michigan does not prohibit a user of medical marijuana obtained a concealed carry permit.

The requirements for obtaining a permit to carry a concealed pistol include having none of the following:

As you can see, having a medical marijuana card is not on that list. Furthermore, it is not a question on the application and the county clerk does not have access to Michigan’s Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs’ (LARA) medical marijuana patient list. Law enforcement cannot access the list either (for this purpose).

Federal law prohibits the possession of a firearm by a person who is an “unlawful user of or addicted to marijuana”

Use and possession of marijuana remains unlawful under federal law. The federal government also prohibits a person from possessing a firearm if that person is an “unlawful user or addicted to a controlled substance.” Unfortunately, marijuana use for medicinal or recreational purposes is not a defense. It does not matter if the state has provided the legalization or decriminalization of marijuana.

The term “unlawful user of a controlled substance” contemplates the regular and repeated use of a controlled substance in a manner other than as prescribed by a licensed physician. The one time or infrequent use of a controlled substance is not sufficient to establish the defendant as an “unlawful user.” 

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Rather, the defendant must have been engaged in use that was sufficiently consistent and prolonged, as to constitute a pattern of regular and repeated use of a controlled substance. 

It should be noted that a medical marijuana patient is not, by definition, an unlawful user of a controlled substance. However, most medical marijuana patients probably use it in a manner consistent with the definition. Federal law does not prohibit a patient from obtaining a permit to carry a concealed weapon. They do prohibit the possession of a firearm by a regular marijuana user.

Federal law also prohibits an unlawful user of marijuana from purchasing a firearm

To purchase a firearm from a federally licensed firearms dealer, a person must fill out an ATF Form 4473. This form asks the following:

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

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.

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If the applicant checks the box “yes”, their application will be denied. Additionally, it is a felony to lie on a federal form.

Medical marijuana and concealed carry: The bottom line

If a medical marijuana patient is a regular user of marijuana, and of course many of them are, they can get a permit to carry a concealed pistol (CPL), but they are in violation of federal law by being in possession (even if not concealed) of a firearm. It is unfortunate, but until federal marijuana policy changes, this is the law.

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