Gun Rights for Medical Cannabis Patients in New York
On March 31, 2021, former New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed legislation allowing the use of cannabis for medicinal purposes. With Cuomo’s signature, the state Department of Health (DOH) had 18 months to implement a medical marijuana program that will give patients access to non-smokable forms of cannabis consumption. The bill also led to the expungement of prior marijuana-related criminal records in the state of New York. As of October 2021, it is illegal for employers in New York State to test potential hires for cannabis use or to discriminate against current employees who use cannabis outside work hours.
Patients may be certified by any medical professional who has successfully completed a two- to four-hour training in medical cannabis and who is licensed to prescribe prohibited medications in New York State. Patients may enroll in the Medical Cannabis Program after receiving a certificate from their doctor. They can also choose their own caregivers, and there is no registration charge. The patient will be given a registry ID card that entitles them to medical marijuana purchases from New York State dispensaries.
Does Having a Medical Cannabis Card Mean Not Being Eligible for a Gun License in New York?
You are not allowed to use marijuana when purchasing or owning a firearm in New York under the Gun Control Act of 1968. Despite the fact that medical marijuana is legal in New York and that you can have a medical cannabis card, the Gun Control Act classifies medical cannabis patients as having the same forbidden status as violent criminals and mentally ill people. As a result, you cannot apply for a gun if you have a medical marijuana card and vice versa.
Despite the Gun Control Act of 1968’s federal penalties for marijuana usage, marijuana retailers are prohibited from sharing their customer base with the government, according to the office of New York state senator Liz Krueger. This ban on sharing information has probably led to some cannabis users deciding to possess both, trusting their luck not to get caught.
Can You Take Your Gun to a Dispensary in New York?
In order to acquire a firearm from a private individual in New York, you need a permit to purchase, a background check, and a firearms registration. A licensed firearms dealer must handle all private sales. The possession of an unregistered firearm is prohibited. New York state law does not address open carry, although a New York Pistol License (NYPL) is required to conceal carry a loaded handgun outside a home or workplace.
These places are off-limits even with an NYPL:
- Buildings or grounds, used for educational purposes, of any school, college, or university
- On the grounds of a residential child care facility
- In state parks, except for hunting purposes where permitted
- Statue Cruises ferry to Ellis Island & Liberty Island, and the Statue of Liberty National Monument
- Public campgrounds, except during the spring and fall hunting seasons
- Lake George Battlefield Park
- Zoar Valley Multiple-Use Area, except during the small-game and big-game hunting seasons
- Specified trails on the Adirondack Mountain Reserve
- Any facility of the Department of Mental Hygiene, or any residential facility which has an operating certificate issued by the department, except with permission of the director of the facility
- Government buildings in certain cities and counties
- Any public transportation (i.e. buses, trains, subway, ferries, etc.)
- Time Square
- Homeless shelters
- Within the city of New York unless a special permit granting validity is issued by the police commissioner of that city
- Any place where the carrying of firearms is prohibited by federal law or state law or regulation
So you can conceal carry your gun to a dispensary as long as you have a valid handgun license, own a registered handgun, and are doing so in accordance with the license’s restrictions, as well as other relevant state and federal laws.
Can You Consume CBD and Own a Gun in New York?
CBD oil derived from marijuana that has high levels of THC is only permitted for individuals in New York who have received recommendations for medical marijuana. However, hemp-derived CBD oil that only contains 0.3% THC can be freely owned and used by anyone.
With that said, CBD consumers in New York can get a gun license to purchase and own a gun as long as they follow the allowed THC level.