Medical marijuana & gun ownership: What are your rights?

ORLANDO, Fla. — Owning a gun is legal and having a medical marijuana card in Florida is also legal, but what if you have both?


Marijuana is still considered a controlled substance under federal law, so when you fill out the federal background check, a medical marijuana user will get denied if they answer the question honestly.

But how you answer that question is “confidential,” said Joe Castrofort, an Orlando attorney.

“It is 100% up to you,” he said. “You can lie. You can lie on the form, and I have no doubt that the transaction would be approved. And it would go through, but you would have committed a federal crime.”

Read: Florida Supreme Court hears arguments on adding recreational marijuana vote next November

Channel 9′s Kirstin Delgado wanted to look into the issue, so she went to 10 Central Florida gun shops, inquiring about a gun and asked the question, “What if I have a medical marijuana card?’”

And what she got was a range of responses.

On one end, she was told, “No, I cannot sell to you.”

On other end she was told, “I don’t know if I can sell to you.”

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Carl Jones, an Orlando gun instructor, said he has had similar experiences at local gun shops.

“I know that a lot of medicinal marijuana card holders they have weapons,” he said. “You talk to them -- ‘how did you get it?’ They tell you the shops they go to, so it’s out there.”

But Castrofort said the law is clear.

“The federal law is not ambiguous,” he said.

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So, the question becomes can the government track if you’re lying? Can the federal government verify if someone applying for a gun has a medical marijuana card?

The short answer from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement is “no.”

Castrofort said a medical marijuana user can also buy a gun in a private sale because the federal government doesn’t require a background check in those purchases.

“If it’s not a new gun, and if it’s already in the state, and it doesn’t have to cross a border or state line, then it’s completely inside the state,” he said. “Right now, they don’t have an ability to reach that transaction, because the federal dealer was not involved.”

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