How Will the Legalization of Marijuana Affect Illinois Gun Owners?

Illinois recently passed the Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act. As of January 1, 2020, Illinois residents will have the right to purchase and use recreational marijuana and marijuana products. Due to this new law, the Illinois governor has already issued over 11,000 pardons for those convicted of low-level marijuana possession. Nonetheless, Illinois is only the 11th state to legalize recreational marijuana. Many potential problems are anticipated when it comes to enforcing the new law. Will firearm owners be able to use marijuana recreationally? As of now, the answer is unclear.

Will State Officials Revoke the Right to Own Firearms Due to Marijuana Use?

Recreational marijuana use is now legal in Illinois. However, Illinois is one of only a few states that require residents to secure a Firearm Owners’ Identification Card in order to own firearms. State police officials have stated that they will not revoke Firearm Owners’ Identification Cards solely for recreational marijuana use. This issue is complicated and is far from resolved.

Under federal law, marijuana possession is still a federal crime. Possession of less than 30 grams of cannabis flower is illegal because cannabis is a Schedule 1 drug. Whether or not a state legalizes recreational marijuana is not relevant to the federal government’s prohibition.

The Federal Firearms Transaction Record Form

When firearm owners apply for a background check, they must complete a questionnaire. The Firearms Transaction Record asks if the applicant is an unlawful user of or addicted to marijuana. When an applicant answers “yes” to that question, the sale of the firearm is denied. Those who lie on a Firearms Transaction Record form commit a felony. In addition to other punishments, convicted felons cannot own guns.

Even though the Illinois state police have stated that they will not revoke Firearm Owners’ Identification cards solely on a person’s legal use of cannabis. Nonetheless, firearm owners will not pass the federal background check if they answer “yes” to the question involving marijuana use. Illinois closed the gun show loophole that allowed an individual to buy a firearm from another private individual without submitting to a background check in 2013. Now, every new gun owner must undergo a federal background check.

Additionally, in 2011, the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms stated that a firearms dealer cannot sell a medical cannabis cardholder ammunition or guns. Despite the use of medical marijuana being legal now, firearms dealers cannot sell medical marijuana users guns. The Department of Justice has not yet responded to inquiries by TheCenterSquare.com. Lawsuits may emerge going forward that push back on the federal government’s background check questions.

If You Have Been Charged with a Gun or Marijuana-Related Crime, We Can Help

With Illinois’ new cannabis law taking effect on January 1, 2020, many legal questions still hang in the air. Whether you are facing a criminal charge, you have questions about the new marijuana law, or you are a gun owner who is unsure about the new law, we can help. Contact our Cook County criminal defense law firm today to schedule your initial consultation.

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