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Pennsylvania Medical Marijuana Cardholders Prohibited from Owning Firearms

The Pennsylvania State Police recently released a reminder to state residents that it is illegal to possess both a firearm and a medical marijuana card. Even though some states have legalized marijuana for medical and recreational usage (or just medical, as in Pennsylvania’s case), the drug is still illegal at the federal level. Federal firearm law states that it’s illegal to use marijuana and possess a firearm (see the Gun Control Act of 1968).

It does not matter that Pennsylvania has its own legally operated medical marijuana program. Any time there is a contradiction between state and federal law, the federal law is likely to win out.

The state keeps a record of everyone who has a medical marijuana card and carefully watches who attempts to purchase a firearm. Failing to disclose the truth on an official form when attempting to get such a card or a firearm is a federal offense.

Medical marijuana advocates not pleased

Some medical marijuana advocates believe the situation is unfair to law-abiding citizens. They argue that it’s a federal right to own a firearm, and that people should have the right to possess medication that is necessary to treat their ailments.

Medical marijuana has been proven to be effective at easing the pain associated with a variety of conditions, including glaucoma and diseases associated with seizures.

It is unlikely that these rules will be amended any time soon, but there are elected officials who have raised the issue in front of Congress. So far, 29 states have legalized cannabis in some form, and that number is likely to grow in the years to come.

If you are facing drug or firearms-related charges in Pennsylvania, contact experienced Reading criminal defense attorney David R. Eshelman.


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