Michigan is one of 37 states in the U.S. that allows cannabis products to be used for medical purposes. Michigan now allows recreational cannabis use to an individual who is 21 years or older. It also provides concealed weapons permits to certain gun owners and users.
But, can a person in the state of Michigan hold both a medical marijuana card and a concealed weapons permit at the same time? The simple answer to that question is yes, but under certain circumstances only.
It’s very important that you understand the laws in Michigan in relation to these two specialty licenses, and how they apply to certain situations and locations.
What are the Federal Laws That Govern Firearm Sale and Possession?
The most important thing to understand is that there are two sets of laws that apply to medical marijuana and concealed weapons permits — those at the federal level and those at the state level.
What is legal in Michigan may not be legal at the federal level. In other words, Michigan’s state laws allow for people to have a medical card and concealed weapons permit at the same time. However, those laws do not apply outside the state’s borders, since there are no federal laws that provide these same privileges.
The two main federal laws that govern the sale and possession of firearms are the the National Firearms Act of 1934 as well as the Gun Control Act of 1968. The former was the first federal law that sought to curb violence by regulating firearm sales and possession. The latter sough to do the same by putting prohibitions on who could own firearms.
These two laws form the basis of all firearm sale and possession regulations at the federal level.
Wilson v. Lynch
In 2016, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled in the case of Wilson v. Lynch that people who have a medical marijuana license card were prohibited from purchasing guns.
The plaintiff in the case, S. Rowan Wilson, tried to legally purchase a firearm in Nevada, where she lived. The firearms dealer wouldn’t sell her a gun, though, because she had a medical marijuana card. The dealer acted under the federal law that prohibits the sale of firearms to anyone who is known to be a drug user.
Wilson challenged that decision — and the federal law — through a federal lawsuit. She was challenging the federal statute that prohibited her sale from going through. She also challenged regulations set by the ATF — the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives — which said in 2011, that firearms dealers who held federal licenses couldn’t sell guns to medical marijuana users because it is considered an unlawful drug.
Even today, as marijuana has been legalized for both medical and recreational usage in many states including Michigan, it still remains an illegal drug on a federal level. This means that any state that doesn’t explicitly allow for the sale of firearms to a medical marijuana card holder is prevented from doing so according to federal law.
The appeals court ultimately determined that Wilson’s Second Amendment rights weren’t impeded upon, even though she wasn’t a user of marijuana and only obtained the card to support the legislation. The court ruled that federal law didn’t prohibit the possession of firearms by medical marijuana card holders, only the purchase of new firearms.
She could, therefore, have legally purchased firearms before obtaining the card and still possessed them according to the law. Wilson, according to the court, also could drop her medical marijuana card at any time willfully and regain her legal right to purchase firearms.
What this means, essentially, is that Michigan’s state law is in contradiction to federal law. It’s unlawful to not only purchase but also possess a firearm, whether concealed or not, if you’re a marijuana user, even if for medical purposes.
In fact, the ATF rescinded an exemption that Michigan Concealed Pistol License “CPL” holders once enjoyed. Before the state legalized the use of recreational marijuana, CPL holders in Michigan didn’t have to undergo a background check through NICS for each new firearm they purchased.
That privilege was rescinded following the recreational marijuana law going into effect in late 2019, because marijuana is still illegal at the federal level.
What Disqualifies You from CPL in Michigan?
There are certain requirements one must meet in order to qualify for a CPL in Michigan. While there are some exceptions to the rule here, a person will generally be disqualified from obtaining a CPL in Michigan if they have a felony conviction or have one pending; have been deemed to have a mental health illness; have been dishonorably discharged from the military; been convicted of domestic assault within eight years from applying for the CPL; and been convicted of DUI in the last three years.
There are some other things that would disqualify someone from obtaining a CPL in Michigan, but those are the main categories of disqualification.
Can You Get a CPL with a Misdemeanor in Michigan?
There are instances in which you could get a CPL in Michigan if you have a misdemeanor offense on your record. There is a long list of misdemeanor offenses on the state of Michigan’s website that outlines which misdemeanor offenses would disqualify you from obtaining a CPL.
Even if you have been convicted of one of the misdemeanors on the list, though, you could still gain a CPL in Michigan after a certain period of time. For example, some of the offenses require you to wait eight years since the charge while others require offenders to wait three years.
Where Can I Carry a CPL in Michigan?
Michigan issues CPLs only to residents of the state, with some exceptions. Residents of other states who have similar CPLs in their home state may carry a concealed firearm, too.
Michigan provides some relatively liberal rules for where a legally-licensed holder of a CPL can carry a concealed weapon. Generally speaking, you can carry a CPL in most places in Michigan, except for some places such as hospitals and schools.
You are allowed to carry a CPL in a bar or restaurant that serves alcohol, as long as you’re not actually considered to be under the influence. There also aren’t any specific statutes that address possession at hotels. As a result, you should check with the hotel to see its policy.
Can You Carry a Gun in a Dispensary in Michigan?
It is not explicitly illegal to carry a gun in a dispensary in Michigan according to state law. However, it is according to federal law, as mentioned above. So, it’s generally not a good idea to carry a gun in a dispensary in Michigan.