Firearms & MMJ
MISSOURI MEDICAL MARIJUANA
AND GUN RIGHTS
Can I Legally Own & Purchase Firearms If I Get A Missouri MMJ Card?
Contrary to a popular rumor, yes, you can still own and purchase guns in Missouri as a medical marijuana patient! Article XIV of the Missouri Constitution, which authorizes medical use of marijuana in Missouri, does not reference or prohibit the possession or purchase of firearms by medical marijuana cardholders, both patients and caregivers, and the Missouri Dept. of Health & Senior Services does not regulate the possession or purchase of firearms. This excerpt from Article XIV, Section 1.5 provides further information:
(11) It is the public policy of the state of Missouri that contracts related to marijuana for medical use that are entered into by Qualifying Patients, Primary Caregivers, Medical Marijuana Testing Facilities, Medical Marijuana Cultivation Facilities, Medical Marijuana-Infused Products Manufacturing Facilities, or Medical Marijuana Dispensary Facilities and those who allow property to be used by those entities, should be enforceable. It is the public policy of the state of Missouri that no contract entered into by Qualifying Patients, Primary Caregivers, Medical Marijuana Testing Facilities, Medical Marijuana Cultivation Facilities, Medical Marijuana-Infused Products Manufacturing Facilities, or Medical Marijuana Dispensary Facilities, or by a person who allows property to be used for activities that are exempt from state criminal penalties by this section, shall be unenforceable on the basis that activities related to medical marijuana may be prohibited by federal law.
Whew, that’s a lot of words! But what does it really mean? Basically, it means that in Missouri it is entirely legal for qualified patients and their caregivers to use medical marijuana within the legal boundaries outlined in the Article XIV, and that being a licensed medical marijuana patient will not affect any other protected rights as granted by the Missouri Constitution, including the right to bear arms as outlined in MO Const. Art. 1, Section 23. Even though use of medical marijuana and firearms may be considered illegal at a federal level, these rights are protected under the MO Constitution. To further protect these rights, regardless of federal prohibition status, the Missouri House of Representatives has approved a new law called the Second Amendment Preservation Act.
Second Amendment Preservation Act
Approved by the Missouri House of Representatives on May 26th, 2021, the Second Amendment Preservation Act is a combination of House Bill Nos. 85 & 310. The bill goes above and beyond other legislation to protect Missouri gun ownership rights for medical marijuana patients and their caregivers, and was signed into law by Governor Mike Parson on June 12th, 2021. Three key sections of the bill specifically outline current federal regulations as infringements of Missouri MMJ cardholder’s constitutional rights:
1.420. The following federal acts, laws, executive orders, administrative orders, rules, and regulations shall be considered infringements on the people’s right to keep and bear arms, as guaranteed by Amendment II of the Constitution of the United States and Article I, Section 23 of the Constitution of Missouri, within the borders of this state 5 including, but not limited to: …
(4) Any act forbidding the possession, ownership, use, or transfer of a firearm, firearm accessory, or ammunition by law-abiding citizens; and
1.430. All federal acts, laws, executive orders, administrative orders, rules, and regulations, regardless of whether they were enacted before or after the provisions of sections 1.410 to 1.485, that infringe on the people’s right to keep and bear arms as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the Constitution of the United States and Article I, Section 23 of the Constitution of Missouri shall be invalid to this state, shall not be recognized by this state, shall be specifically rejected by this state, and shall not be enforced by this state.
1.450. No entity or person, including any public officer or employee of this state or any political subdivision of this state, shall have the authority to enforce or attempt to enforce any federal acts, laws, executive orders, administrative orders, rules, regulations, statutes, or ordinances infringing on the right to keep and bear arms as described under section 1.420. Nothing in sections 1.410 to 1.480 shall be construed to prohibit Missouri officials from accepting aid from federal officials in an effort to enforce Missouri laws.
This new legislation offers direct protection to all ‘law-abiding citizens’ who are not otherwise prevented by state law from possessing or purchasing a firearm in the state of Missouri. Given that licensed medical marijuana use is now constitutionally protected in Missouri, the bill is designed to give further assurance to anyone worried that Missouri officials might license them to use marijuana medically, only to turn around and use that licensure to terminate their right to bear arms using federal law as the justification. Although the bill does make some exceptions which allow for Missouri officials to provide material aid for federal prosecution of certain weapons offenses (where those offenses are ancillary to a federal drug prosecution), those exceptions are limited to serious federal felony drug offenses. Medical marijuana use is essentially excluded from this exception, and therefore the gun rights of medical marijuana patients and their caregivers are protected under the bill, since Missourians are able to legally purchase, possess, and consume medical marijuana products under the Missouri Constitution.
Under the new law, all Missouri law enforcements officers are prevented from enforcing any federal laws or regulations that restrict gun ownership rights outside of the scope of Missouri law. One of the most important parts of the bill are the robust punishments for law enforcement officers or agencies who violate these rights, including a $50,000 civil fine and the recovery of attorney’s fees for any injured party. The strict penalties even apply in cases where law enforcement agencies or state departments hire any individuals that have previously enforced (or attempted to enforce) any of the infringements outlined in the section of the law identifying forbidden conduct. Forbidden conduct is described in section 1.460.1 as “any occurrence in which a law enforcement officer knowingly deprives a citizen of Missouri of the rights or privileges ensured by Amendment II of the U.S. Constitution or Article I, Section 23 of the Missouri Constitution while acting under the color of any state or federal law…” Officers who violate the new law will become effectively unemployable as Missouri law enforcement.
Adding yet another layer of protection, the Rohrabacher-Farr Amendment was adopted in 2014 to directly address the discrepancy between state marijuana legalization and federal laws. It prohibits the use of federal funds for the pursuit of marijuana law enforcement in states that have adopted their own medical marijuana legislation. This means that businesses and individuals are protected from being prosecuted at a federal level as long as they are acting within the parameters of state law.
Can I Still Get A Concealed Carry Permit (CCP) If I Get My MMJ Card?
Yes, you can! Missouri MMJ cardholders (both patients and caregivers) are still eligible to apply for a Missouri concealed carry license. Missouri is a permit-less concealed carry state, however, permits are issued for reciprocity in other eligible states with conceal and carry laws. Both open carry and concealed carry are legal in Missouri without a Concealed Carry Permit (CCP) for anyone 19 and older who can legally possess a firearm. Local authorities can restrict concealed carry in certain government buildings and may require a CCP for open carry in those spaces. To obtain a Missouri CCP, applicants must be at least 19 years old and have passed a firearms training course. The application must be made in your county of residence.
Additionally, MO DHSS does not provide medical marijuana patient information to the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, except in cases of serious federal felony drug offenses. During the application process for a concealed carry permit, applicants should mark “NO” on the questions that asks about unlawful use of marijuana, since those applicants are legally allowed to purchase, use, and consume marijuana within the state of Missouri. The same applies when purchasing a firearm from a licensed dealer; a standard background check will not reveal medical marijuana patient status. The Second Amendment Protection Act further guarantees the rights of law-abiding Missourians to purchase and possess firearms within the legal boundaries set forth by the Missouri Constitution.
Useful Resources For Further Information:
- Missouri Legislature Passes Second Amendment Protection Act – Greenway Magazine
- Missouri Medical Marijuana Program Patient FAQs – Missouri Dept. of Health & Senior Services
- Firearms Q&As – U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, & Explosives