We have contacted and consulted multiple investigators at the Bureau of Criminal Identification (BCI), law enforcement officers, and attorneys to put together the best and most current information for you.
Let's get straight to the facts.
- If you currently have a medical cannabis card and submit an application to obtain a Utah concealed firearm permit (CFP), and BCI knows you have a medical cannabis card, your application WILL be denied.
- If you currently have a Utah CFP and obtain a medical cannabis card, and BCI finds out, your permit WILL be revoked.
- If law enforcement finds you in possession of a firearm with a medical cannabis card, they cannot confiscate your Utah CFP but, they can (not required) notify BCI. If this happens, your permit WILL be revoked.
- This all applies even if you have a medical cannabis card and do not, or ever have, used medical cannabis. Simply having the card makes you a prohibited person under Federal law.
The Utah CFP application has a question that asks, "Have you ever been convicted of the unlawful use of narcotics or other controlled substance?".
If you have not been "convicted" then you can answer "No".
The application also has a statement for the applicant that says;
"ALL APPLICANTS: Please read and sign the statement below:
I understand that it is a class B misdemeanor to knowingly and willfully provide false information on a concealed firearm permit application and may result in the denial of a permit pursuant to Utah Code Ann. § 53-5-704(15). I hereby declare under criminal penalty of the State of Utah that the information contained on this application is true and correct."
Once again, you are NOT violating the law by answering "No" if you have never been "convicted" which means found guilty of a crime in court.
This still DOES NOT mean that you are eligible to obtain a permit if you have a medical cannabis card.
In Utah, an unlawful user of a controlled substance or possession is a one-year disqualifier even if the case is dismissed or found not guilty. This also means if BCI denies a CFP application or a current CFP is revoked because you have a medical cannabis card, per federal law, you WILL NOT be able to obtain a CFP for at least one year.
What about Utah's new Constitutional "permitless" Carry law?
Nothing changes under this new law. Just because you can carry a concealed firearm in Utah without a concealed firearm permit if you are at least 21 years old (AFTER May 5th, 2021) does not mean you are exempt from Federal law.
Read more about Constitutional Carry here.
Regardless of what laws Utah makes, as long as marijuana, in any form, is illegal under Federal law, you can and WILL be prosecuted under Federal law.
Purchasing A Firearm From a Federal Firearms License (FFL) Dealer
On the ATF 4473 Firearms Transaction Record which you must fill out to purchase a firearm, question 21e asks, "Are you an unlawful user of, or addicted to, marijuana or any depressant, stimulant, narcotic drug, or any other controlled substance?"
You may think, “Hey, I can answer ‘no,’ because medical marijuana (cannabis) is now legal in Utah." However, immediately following the question is the following statement;
"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.”
If you lie on the 4473 it is a Federal felony, punishable by up to 10 years imprisonment and/or up to a $250,000 fine.
Marijuana, medical cannabis, etc. is still illegal under Federal law. Purchasing a firearm from a Federal Firearms License (FFL) dealer is illegal, as the buyer is required to certify they are not using any illicit drugs; marijuana remains a federally illegal substance.
Federal law also states that an individual is prohibited from owning, purchasing, or possessing a firearm for 1 year after you stop using marijuana.
Transfers Of Firearms By Private Sellers
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (BATFE/ATF) states, "An unlicensed individual may transfer a firearm to another unlicensed individual residing in the same State, provided that he or she has no reason to believe the buyer is prohibited by law from possessing firearms. For a list of categories prohibiting a person from possessing a firearm, please refer to 18 U.S.C. 922(g) and (n)." This means if you know, or have reasonable cause to know, that an individual attempting to purchase a firearm from you is a prohibited person and you sell the firearm to them, not only is the buyer committing a Federal felony, so are you. If caught it's punishable by up to 10 years imprisonment.
As described in the laws below law enforcement are somewhat restricted from enforcing certain laws if you have a firearm and a medical cannabis card.
(1) A law enforcement officer, as that term is defined in Section 53-13-103, except for an officially designated drug enforcement task force regarding conduct that is not in accordance with Title 26, Chapter 61a, Utah Medical Cannabis Act, may not expend any state or local resources, including the officer's time, to:
(a) effect any arrest or seizure of cannabis, as that term is defined in Section 26-61a-102, or conduct any investigation, on the sole basis of activity the officer believes to constitute a violation of federal law if the officer has reason to believe that the activity is in compliance with the state medical cannabis laws;
(b) enforce a law that restricts an individual's right to acquire, own, or possess a firearm based solely on the individual's possession or use of cannabis in accordance with state medical cannabis laws; or
(c) provide any information or logistical support related to an activity described in Subsection (1)(a) to any federal law enforcement authority or prosecuting entity.
76-10-528. Carrying a dangerous weapon while under influence of alcohol or drugs unlawful.
(1) It is a class B misdemeanor for any person to carry a dangerous weapon while under the influence of:
(a) alcohol as determined by the person's blood or breath alcohol concentration in accordance with Subsections 41-6a-502(1)(a) through (c); or
(b) a controlled substance as defined in Section 58-37-2.
(2) This section does not apply to:
(a) a person carrying a dangerous weapon that is either securely encased, as defined in this part, or not within such close proximity and in such a manner that it can be retrieved and used as readily as if carried on the person;
(b) any person who uses or threatens to use force in compliance with Section 76-2-402;
(c) any person carrying a dangerous weapon in the person's residence or the residence of another with the consent of the individual who is lawfully in possession; or
(d) a person under the influence of cannabis or a cannabis product, as those terms are defined in Section 26-61a-102, if the person's use of the cannabis or cannabis product complies with Title 26, Chapter 61a, Utah Medical Cannabis Act.
(3) It is not a defense to prosecution under this section that the person:
(a) is licensed in the pursuit of wildlife of any kind; or
(b) has a valid permit to carry a concealed firearm.
18 USC § 922
(g) It shall be unlawful for any person—
(3) who is an unlawful user of or addicted to any controlled substance (as defined in section 102 of the Controlled Substances Act (21 U.S.C. 802))
- Possession or receipt of a firearm or ammunition;
- By a subject who falls within the following category:
Drug user or addict - (Often shown where paraphernalia seized, subject tests positive for drugs
and/or subject claims drugs were possessed for personal use.);
POSSESSION OF A FIREARM OR AMMUNITION BY A PROHIBITED PERSON
Punishable by up to 10 years imprisonment
Original Post: January 17th, 2020
Updated: March 23rd, 2021