Gun Ownership for MMJ Patients in New Mexico?

Can You Own a Gun with a Medical Card in New Mexico?

No. Although New Mexico has not enacted a law relating to the possession of firearms for medical marijuana patients, firearm ownership is in part controlled by federal law. Therefore, under federal law, medical marijuana users are not qualified to possess firearms. Also, gun sellers in New Mexico will not sell firearms to known medical marijuana users.

Can New Mexico Medical Cannabis Patients Legally Carry Firearms Without Permits?

With or without permits, New Mexico cannabis patients cannot legally carry firearms while their medical cannabis registrations remain active due to federal restrictions. Note that New Mexico only issues licenses to conceal carry. Licenses or permits are not required for pistols or shotguns.

Does New Mexico Require Background Checks for MMJ Patients Seeking Gun Licenses?

Per Senate Bill 8, passed in 2019, a background check is required in most cases for persons seeking to purchase firearms in New Mexico.

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

Since there is no specific New Mexico law restricting gun licensees from obtaining the state’s medical marijuana card, you can apply for an MMJ card after obtaining a gun license. However, if you are caught possessing firearms while you have an active registration as a medical cannabis patient, you may be punished under federal law. Once your medical cannabis card expires, you can legally possess or purchase firearms.

Legal History of Gun Ownership for MMJ Patients in New Mexico

Since the legalization of medical marijuana in New Mexico via the Lynn and Erin Compassionate Use Act in 2007, there has been no legislation introduced or passed in the state to clarify that New Mexico medical cannabis patients may possess firearms legally.

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

Although the right to keep and bear weapons was granted to all United States citizens under the Second Amendment, certain categories of persons are prohibited from possessing firearms under the Gun Control Act of 1968. These categories include anyone defined as an unlawful or addicted marijuana user. Due to marijuana's classification under the Controlled Substances Act, marijuana remains federally categorized as a prohibited substance. Therefore, anyone using marijuana, even for medical purposes, is considered an unlawful user under the Gun Control Act and may not possess a firearm.

On September 21, 2011, a letter issued by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives in response to inquiries from firearm sellers clarified that medical marijuana patients are prohibited from purchasing firearms. However, gun-right advocates continue to assert that the Gun Control Act denies Second Amendment rights to medical marijuana patients.

A legal challenge to the Gun Control Act arose in the Wilson vs. Lynch case when a medical marijuana cardholder contested the law. However, the 9th United States Circuit Court of Appeals upheld that the prohibition of firearm sales to medical cannabis users did not infringe upon their Second Amendment rights.

More recently, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives placed a restriction on federal firearm licensees prohibiting firearm sales to anyone who answers "yes" when Form 4473 asks whether the buyer is a controlled substance user.

Another legal dispute questioning the federal government’s interpretation of the 1968 Gun Control Act, initially filed by former Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried and multiple medical cannabis patients, is currently awaiting resolution in the 11th U.S. Court of Appeals.

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