Medical Marijuana, Gun Ownership, and CPLs in Michigan

Quick Inquiry


It is a complex and changing area of law. We know that federal law (18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(3)) makes it a felony for an “unlawful user of … any controlled substance” to “possess … any firearm or ammunition.”

Marijuana is classified as a Schedule I controlled substance, so it is a felony for a user of marijuana to possess a firearm or ammunition. Juxtapose this with the fact that 28 states and the District of Columbia have now passed laws legalizing the medicinal and/or recreational use of marijuana.

The main question we get is: “I have a MMMA Card, can I still get a CPL and own and possess firearms?”

To get a License to Purchase a pistol or a Concealed Pistol License in Michigan, you must also pass a federal background check (NICS check). This brings federal law into the Michigan scheme of licensing. The ATF takes the position that anyone with a MMMA card is probably using and therefore they are not allowed to possess a firearm until 12 months after their last use. So, even having a card is a prohibitor in the eyes of the federal government.

Some argue that this may be a leap as a person with a MMMA card may not use marijuana the same as a CPL holder may not ever carry a pistol. The federal law has been challenged and been upheld so far. Courts have, without any real empirical evidence, assumed a connection between marijuana use and gun violence.

The Michigan database on who has a MMMA card does not talk to the State or Federal databases that are used for background checks. So, unless the person admits they have the card there is no real way for anyone to find out.

But you must fill out certain forms when you apply for a License to Purchase or CPL and you are stepping into a grey area when the marijuana question must be answered. Hopefully, we will get some clarity from new legislation or court cases in the future to make this interaction between laws more sensible.

More information about medical marijuana and firearms ownership can be found HERE.

About MCRGO:

The Michigan Coalition for Responsible Gun Owners is a non-profit, non-partisan organization. Formed from just eight people in 1996, we now have thousands of members and numerous affiliated clubs across the state. We’re growing larger and more effective every day.

Our mission statement is: “Promoting safe use and ownership of firearms through education, litigation, and legislation” Visit:

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