West Virginia Gun Rights for Medical Cannabis Patients
On April 19, 2017, Governor Jim Justice signed Senate Bill 386, creating the West Virginia Medical Cannabis Act, which legalizes the use of medicinal cannabis by citizens of West Virginia who have a qualifying medical condition. With this legislation put into effect, West Virginia became the 29th state to have a medicinal marijuana statute.
The Medical Cannabis Act made it legal for anyone to use and possess marijuana for medicinal purposes provided they have or they suffer from the following illnesses:
- Parkinson’s disease
- multiple sclerosis
- spinal cord damage
- Huntington’s disease
- Crohn’s disease
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Intractable seizures
- Sickle cell anemia
- Severe chronic or intractable pain
The statute forbids patients from cultivating or using marijuana plants. Cannabis products in the form of tablets, oils, topicals, patches, or vaporized oils can only be distributed by a dispensary with a license.
The statute, which is significant, offers specific job rights for workers who obtain a certification to use medicinal marijuana. The statute specifically prohibits employers from “dismissing, threatening, refusing to hire, or otherwise discriminating or retaliating against an employee” because of the person’s usage of medicinal marijuana.
The program is overseen by the Office of Medical Cannabis (OMC) under the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources Bureau of Public Health, which also creates regulations, inspects medical cannabis companies, handles applications, and issues patient ID cards and company licenses.
In order to register with the OMC for medicinal cannabis usage, patients must get a formal certification from their doctor. Although access might have started as early as July 2019, the state did not start accepting applications until December 2019, putting the earliest possible sales start sometime in 2020.
Does Having a Medical Cannabis Card Mean Not Being Eligible for a Gun License in West Virginia?
For some West Virginians who have chronic pain, anxiety, sleeplessness, cancer, and other qualifying disorders, having access to medicinal marijuana has transformed their quality of life. Many people are delighted to have relief at last, but they might not have thought about how possessing a medical marijuana card would affect their other rights, such as the ability to own and buy firearms.
The good news is that legislators in most states, including West Virginia, vow to defend the interests of those who voted for the medical marijuana initiative since it provides tax income for vital social, safety, and community initiatives. State officials want citizens to feel secure in their use of medicinal marijuana, which the government approves, and to understand that they are not required to give up their firearms simply because they are being open about their need for treatment.
The state of West Virginia does not require registering your guns, even if you plan to carry them around. Different cities and towns may have different rules, but no state law requires a license. This means that if you don’t buy your gun at a store with a federal license, no one will even know that you have one.
If you presently have a marijuana card and a gun in West Virginia, you might not need to worry too much because it is less likely to land you in trouble.
Get Your West Virginia Medical Cannabis Card
Can You Take Your Gun to a Dispensary in West Virginia?
West Virginia is a shall-issue state, meaning the sheriff’s office issues concealed weapon licenses at the county level.
When purchasing a firearm from a private individual in West Virginia, there are no license requirements, background checks, waiting periods, or registration requirements for weapons.
West Virginia is a permitless carry state. If a person is at least 18 years old and has a legal right to own a handgun under state and federal law, they are permitted to carry a firearm openly without a license.
A person must be at least 21 years old, a citizen of the United States, or a resident of the country with legal permission to own a handgun under state and federal law in order to carry a concealed weapon without a license. A Provisional Concealed Handgun License is necessary for anybody between the ages of 18 and 20 who wants to carry a concealed handgun (CHL). Residents and service members stationed permanently in West Virginia are given West Virginia CHLs.
These places are off-limits even with a permit/license:
- Any public primary or secondary education building, structure, facility or grounds including a vocational education building, structure, facility or grounds where secondary vocational education programs are conducted or at a school-sponsored function, or in or on a private primary or secondary education building, structure or facility (except possession of an unloaded firearm in a motor vehicle and leaving an unloaded firearm in a locked motor vehicle)
- Any school bus
- County courthouses or any facility housing a court of this state
- The State Capitol Complex (except permittees may keep a firearm in his or her motor vehicle upon the State Capitol Complex if the vehicle is locked and the weapon is out of normal view)
- Regional jails, detention facilities or State Division of Corrections facilities
- Any building or area limited by municipal code. Certain municipalities may have further handgun restrictions in municipal code. Before carrying a weapon in a West Virginia municipality, it is recommended that you inquire as to such laws with the appropriate city attorney’s office
- Any property where firearms are prohibited by the owner, lessee or other person charged with the care, custody and control of the real property
- Wherever signs are posted indicating weapon restrictions
- Any place where the carrying of firearms is prohibited by federal law or state law or regulation.
You are not prohibited to bring your firearms in the dispensary as long as the dispensary allows it.
Can You Consume CBD and Own a Gun in West Virginia?
In 2002, West Virginia legalized hemp and classed it as a different substance from marijuana, ahead of many other states in the US. SB 447 was a restricted measure that permitted the production of hemp for research reasons and classified hemp as cannabis with less than 1% THC.
In 2019, the state enacted Bill 2694, which amended the rules for hemp licensing and cultivation in the state and reclassified hemp to conform to federal requirements. CBD is now legal in West Virginia, as long as it comes from hemp or cannabis with less than 0.3% THC.
This bill demonstrates that West Virginia has some of the country’s laxest regulations regarding hemp and CBD. Getting a license in West Virginia to transport, produce, possess, or sell hemp or CBD is unnecessary. As CBD is not regarded as an adulterant, adding it to meals, drinks, and dietary supplements is OK. No laws specifically prohibit any kind of CBD products, including those that may be smoked.
You can consume CBD while owning a gun in West Virginia.
Can I Own a Gun if My Spouse Has A Medical Cannabis Card in West Virginia?
West Virginia is a state that values freedom, so there aren’t many restrictions on law-abiding residents purchasing guns. A non-prohibited person does not need a license or registration to own a handgun or other firearms to keep it in their home, business, or on other private properties. But it is your responsibility to find out where guns aren’t allowed or where the law puts limits on them.
According to the West Virginia Restoration of Rights & Record Relief, a person who has been convicted of a violent crime, a sexual felony, or a drug offense involving a Schedule I restricted substance, with the exception of marijuana, is prohibited from possessing a firearm. This implies that the state believes that marijuana users, even those convicted of a felony in the past, can regain their right to possess a firearm, and moreover, to live with someone who owns a gun.
But the person who needs medical marijuana must be careful about how and when they use their medicine. People who have been proven to use controlled substances illegally or regularly and are addicted to them are not allowed to own guns.
So long as your spouse is a medical marijuana card holder and is not an unlawful user, you can own a firearm in West Virginia. However, please consult with a local lawyer before putting yourself in that situation.