Updated: Jun 21
The intersection of marijuana and firearms is a very confusing place right now. There are currently 36 states and territories that allow medical marijuana use, and 32 that have decriminalized it altogether. In Maryland, medicinal marijuana is legal, but recreational use is still illegal. There have been several pushes to decriminalize recreational use recently, and the current law says that you can have up to 10 ounces in your possession without punishment. The problem is that marijuana is still a controlled substance in the eyes of the federal government, and is listed as a Schedule I drug on the Controlled Substance Act. Also, according to the Gun Control Act of 1968, you cannot possess a firearm while using a controlled substance.
Anyone who attempts to purchase a firearm, including Marylanders, is required to fill out ATF Form 4473, Firearms Transaction Record. Question 21e of the 4473 asks “Are you an unlawful user of, or addicted to, marijuana or any depressant, stimulant, narcotic drug, or any other controlled substance?” Now, you may think that you’re good if you live in a state where marijuana is legal, or if you have a prescription to use it medicinally. Unfortunately, the next line clarifies that. “Warning: The use or possession of marijuana remains unlawful under Federal law regardless of whether it has been legalized or decriminalized for medicinal or recreational purposes in the state where you reside.”
So, the big question is “Can I buy a gun in Maryland if I have a medical marijuana card?” The answer is no. Under current federal law, you cannot purchase a firearm if you are a medical marijuana user, even if it is legal in your state.
That may soon change in Maryland, however. In 2019, the Maryland Senate passed SB97 unanimously with a vote of 46-0. SB97 would make it legal for medical marijuana users in Maryland to purchase a firearm, regardless of federal law. Unfortunately, the bill was not picked up by the General Assembly and the issue has not moved forward. The passage of the Senate bill, however, shows bipartisan support for the issue of gun ownership and decriminalization of marijuana possession and could be taken up again in the near future.