Gun Ownership for MMJ Patients in Vermont?

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

No. Although medical cannabis is legal for qualifying patients and firearm ownership is allowed for eligible residents, no medical marijuana cardholder in the state can legally own or possess a gun. Federal law prohibits cannabis patients from carrying guns, and Vermont has no law protecting marijuana patients' gun rights.

Can Vermont Medical Cannabis Patients Legally Carry Firearms Without Permits?

No. In compliance with federal law regarding the matter, medical cannabis patients cannot legally carry firearms in Vermont. Note that both concealed carry and open carry without a gun permit are legal in Vermont.

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

No, because Vermont does not issue gun licenses to known MMJ patients as it is illegal for anyone registered in the Vermont Medical Cannabis Program to lawfully use a firearm.

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

In Vermont, it is unlawful for any qualifying medical cannabis patient who owns a gun to apply for a state-issued medical marijuana card. Similarly, having a medical marijuana card disqualifies a person from legally possessing a firearm. However, when a patient's Vermont medical marijuana card expires, they may lawfully purchase a gun. Being a registered patient under the state's Medical Cannabis Program will not prevent a person's spouse from owning or carrying a firearm. However, the spouse must always be cautious to keep their gun away, preferably kept under lock to prevent undue access.

Legal History of Gun Ownership for MMJ Patients in Vermont

While medical marijuana is legal in Vermont, no state legislation protects cannabis patients' gun ownership rights. Anyone who owns a firearm and uses cannabis for either medical or recreational purposes in Vermont is considered to be violating federal law in the state.

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

Despite the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution, which gives people the right to bear arms, the federal stance is clear on gun ownership rights of medical cannabis patients. The Gun Control Act of 1968 prohibits unlawful users of controlled substances, marijuana inclusive, from possessing firearms. This was bolstered by a 2011 advisory issued by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Explosives (ATF) reminding federal firearms licensees that selling firearms and ammunition to unlawful users of controlled substances is illegal. Medical marijuana cardholders are not exempted.

The Gun Control Act of 1968 was challenged in 2016 at a federal district court by Rowan Wilson, a Nevada medical marijuana cardholder in the Wilson v. Lynch case. A licensed firearm dealer who knew about Wilson's medical cannabis card had refused to sell a gun to her, citing the 2011 advisory by the ATF. Consequently, Rowan filed a suit at the district court, claiming her Second Amendment rights were violated. However, the ATF filed a motion to dismiss the case, which the court granted. Dissatisfied by the district court's ruling, Wilson filed an appeal, but unfortunately, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the judgment from the lower court. The Judge, Loretta E. Lynch, stated that the Second Amendment does not protect the right of unlawful users of controlled substances to carry firearms.

Under federal law, it is mandatory to complete the ATF Form 4473 when purchasing a firearm from any federal firearms licensee (FFL). Prospective buyers are expected to fill out the form accurately and ensure no false disclosure is made. If a person lies about their marijuana use on Form 4473, federal law recommends up to a 10-year jail sentence in federal prison and/or up to a $25,000 fine as punishment.

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