Gun Ownership for MMJ Patients in Alaska?

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

No, medical cannabis users in Alaska are prohibited from possessing firearms. Senate Bill 94 (SB 94), which modified the law that created Measure 8 (Alaska Medical Marijuana Act), made no provisions for gun possession by medical cannabis patients in the state.

Can Alaska Medical Cannabis Patients Legally Carry Firearms Without Permits?

No. It is illegal for registered medical cannabis patients in Alaska to carry firearms while they have active and valid medical marijuana registry identification cards.

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

Alaska prohibits gun ownership or possession by medical cannabis patients.

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

No. It is unlawful for any qualifying medical marijuana patient in Alaska to obtain a medical cannabis card after getting a gun license because the state prohibits having firearms while using cannabis. Obtaining a medical cannabis card invalidates a patient’s firearm license. There are no protections for persons who own firearms licenses and have active medical cannabis cards at the same time under the state's Medical Marijuana Act. However, a patient whose medical marijuana card has expired is free to obtain a firearm license in Alaska. Similarly, spouses of registered medical marijuana patients in the state can own firearms, provided they are not cannabis users. However, they are advised to keep such guns locked away to prevent access by their spouses, who are marijuana consumers.

Legal History of Gun Ownership for MMJ Patients in Alaska

While the medical use of cannabis is legal in Alaska, as of 2023, no legislation is geared toward gun ownership for registered medical marijuana patients in the state. This means there are no state laws protecting individuals who own firearms and also use medical cannabis. Legal marijuana in Alaska and Second Amendment rights have yet to be reconciled, considering the federal stance on cannabis.

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

Since 1968, when the United States Congress passed the Gun Control Act (GCA), federal laws have consistently prohibited users of controlled substances, including medicinal marijuana, from possessing guns. Specifically, a 2011 memo from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Explosives (ATF) bans federal firearms dealers from selling guns to medical cannabis patients and recreational marijuana consumers. However, this directive does not apply to private firearm sales between individuals, as such transactions are not federally controlled. When purchasing firearms, individuals must complete the ATF Form 4473 accurately with no falsehoods. Providing false information, for instance, lying about marijuana use in question 21(f) of Form 4473 attracts up to 10 years jail term in federal prison.

Judgment by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in the Wilson v. Lynch case complied with federal laws on gun ownership rights of medical cannabis patients. Rowan Wilson, who was a registered medical marijuana user, filed a lawsuit against a firearm seller after being denied a gun purchase. The firearms dealer, who knew about Wilson's status as a registered medical cannabis patient, had cited the 2011 AFT memo as the reason for refusing to sell the firearm. Rowan's argument was premised on the violation of Second Amendment rights. Even though Wilson claimed not to have been using medical cannabis despite possessing a medical card and was, therefore, not an unlawful marijuana user, the district court dismissed the case. Rowan appealed the case, but the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the judgment of the lower court.

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