Several medical marijuana patients in Illinois have received letters from the state police informing them that their firearm licenses would be revoked, despite the fact that the state ruled two years ago that medical marijuana users could continue to possess firearms.
The Associated Press recently reported that police claim the letters were sent in error, and that only four people received such notices. Despite this, others argue that the mistake points to widespread discrepancies in the law in states that have legalized medical marijuana.
A checklist for firearm owners on the Illinois State Police website includes the requirement “I am not a medical marijuana patient registry card holder,” although ISP spokesperson Matt Boerwinkle stated that this too was in error and is being removed from the list.
Tyler Anthony, an attorney with the Canna Law Group, doubts that the language was added by mistake.
“The opposite is probably true,” he said. “Even taking their word for it, they shouldn’t be careless with citizens’ constitutional rights, especially when their position lacks any clear legal basis.”
The confusion likely stems from a disagreement between state and federal laws on the issue. Although Illinois state law expressly protects medical marijuana users from being denied rights, an open 2011 letter from the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms and Explosives states that medical marijuana users are barred from possessing firearms under federal law.
Photo Credit: Mika Järvinen