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In Ohio, you can't have a CCW and a marijuana card

By Andy Ouriel • Mar 6, 2019 at 2:00 PM

In Ohio, medical marijuana and firearms somewhat operate on a “Don’t ask, don’t tell” policy.

In the simplest terms, those with a concealed-carry permit, often referred to as a CCW, can’t legally purchase medical marijuana in the Buckeye State.

Conversely, those who obtained a cannabis card can’t rightfully apply for one of these permits.

“Because the federal government still views marijuana as a schedule I drug, their rules addressing drug use effectively ban medical marijuana patients from getting a carrying a concealed weapon permit,” said Thomas Rosenberger, the executive director of National Cannabis Industry Association of Ohio, an agency advocating for medical marijuana and educating people on its benefits.

But why’s that?

“The issue with carrying a concealed weapon permits stems from the federal government’s continued misclassification of marijuana as a schedule I drug,” Rosenberger said.

Gun owners without a concealed-carry permit can still obtain a medical marijuana card.

 

The honor system

Rosenberger then pointed to a Dayton Daily News article covering this very subject. The newspaper reported background checks taking place before Ohioans purchase a firearm or obtain a concealed-carry permit “won’t indicate whether or not someone is registered as a medical marijuana user.”

Only doctors licensed through the state pharmacy board can access the medical marijuana patient registry, a database of all Ohioans who can buy cannabis.

Additionally, the newspaper further reported the National Instant Criminal Background Check System — the program licensed gun dealers and law enforcement agencies use to make sure someone can legally own a gun — can’t access the patient registry.

“Gun buyers who purchase from a licensed dealer must sign a form attesting they don’t use marijuana, even medically,” according to the article. “Lying on the form is a felony under federal law, punishable by up to 10 years in prison.”

So what does all that mean?

Ohio-regulated dispensaries work on the honor system. Employees aren’t required to ask patients questions related to concealed-carry permits. Patients, meanwhile, don’t have to tell dispensaries they have a permit.

Such is the case at The Forest Sandusky, Erie County’s only operational medical marijuana dispensary.

“After we confirm that they have been issued a recommendation from their registered physician, we ask the patients how we can help with their pain,” said company CEO Erik Vaughan, who responded with “No” when asked if his employees ask any questions related to permits.

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