Can you have a Medical Cannabis Card and a FOID card at the same time? Can you have a Medical Cannabis Card and a Conceal and Carry Permit at the same time? You would think that these questions are easy to answer. However, these questions have caused great confusion and misunderstanding in Illinois. The State Legislature has done a terrible job of clearing up the law and making this an easy issue to solve. Instead, you have to search for answers to these questions for yourself. If you ask an employee at a gun shop if you can have both, you will get a different answer depending on the day of the week. Let me try to explain the situation and what I believe the law is. Stay tuned for a way around it. Something you will not find anywhere else!
Illinois has decriminalized the possession and use of small amounts of Cannabis. Illinois instituted a Medical Marijuana program several years ago. However, the possession and use of Marijuana remains a crime under federal law. In our system, federal law supersedes state law. In spite of that, the cannabis industry has thrived in Illinois. Legal dispensaries have sprung up throughout the cities and suburbs of Illinois and municipalities and taxing authorities are reaping the resulting tax revenues. The legalization of Recreational Marijuana in Illinois, and the introduction of Medical Cannabis in Illinois, has created a conflict for legal gun owners in Illinois.
In order to possess a firearm in Illinois, you must have a Firearm Owners Identification Card (FOID). To obtain a FOID, you must apply to the Illinois State Police, and pass a thorough background search. Under Federal Law, it is unlawful for Marijuana users to own firearms. 430 ILCS 65/8 sets forth the grounds for the Illinois State Police to deny a FOID application. Section (n) of the statute states that “a person is prohibited from acquiring or possessing firearms or firearm ammunition by any Illinois State Statute or by federal law.” In response, the Illinois State Police has stated that they will not revoke anyone’s FOID card solely because they are using marijuana. However, the Illinois State Police stated that “the ISP (Illinois State Police) will revoke FOID cards where it is demonstrated that an individual is addicted to or a habitual user of Marijuana.”
According to the ISP website, they will not deny a FOID card or a Conceal and Carry Permit simply because the applicant also had a Medical Marijuana Card. Federal Firearm Licensed dealers are explicitly prohibited under Federal Law from selling firearms to anyone who uses marijuana, regardless of what the state says. Under Illinois law, legal sellers of Marijuana (dispensaries) are prohibited from creating any database that shares any information about purchasers with the State. So there is no way for the ISP to know that you are buying recreational or Medical Marijuana. However, the Illinois Department of Public Health, the agency that administers the Medical Marijuana Program in Illinois, does share the identity of Medical Marijuana card holders with the ISP. So when you apply for your FOID card, the ISP will not know that you are buying cannabis at a dispensary. But the ISP will know that you have a Medical Marijuana Card. If you are a Medical Marijuana card holder, the ISP will see that in your background search and you will fail your background search. Therefore, it appears as if Medical Marijuana card holders cannot have a FOID or Conceal and Carry Permit in Illinois.
After all that, I think there’s a way around this deeply flawed law in Illinois. My solution would be to get your FOID and Conceal and Carry Permit first. After you get your FOID and Conceal and Carry, then you should apply for your Medical Marijuana Card. Since the Illinois State Police has stated that they will not revoke your FOID or Conceal and Carry Permit because you obtained a Medical Marijuana card, you should be OK. Illinois law prohibits legal marijuana sellers about sharing any data about purchasers with the State, and the ISP will not revoke any gun rights because you obtained your Medical Marijuana card, so there should be no reason to be denied the right to legally own and carry a gun in Illinois. It seems like the only way for the ISP to check into your Medical Cannabis status is when it comes to a background search. But since you will have your FOID and Conceal and Carry before you get your Medical Marijuana Card, your Medical Cannabis status will not appear on a background search. If you have a Medical Marijuana card and want to get a FOID or Conceal and Carry, you should voluntarily surrender your Medical Marijuana card and apply for your gun card and obtain your Medical Cannabis card after you get your gun card.
James Dimeas is a nationally recognized, award-winning, criminal defense attorney, with over-29 years of experience handling criminal cases throughout Chicago, Cook County, DuPage County, Kane County, and Lake County. Recently, James Dimeas was named a “Top 100 Criminal Defense Lawyer in the State of Illinois” for the years 2018, 2019, 2020, and 2021 by the American Society of Legal Advocates. James Dimeas was named a “Best DUI attorney,” a “Best DUI Lawyer in Schaumburg,” and a “Best Criminal Defense Lawyer in Chicago” by Expertise. James Dimeas was named a “Top 100 Criminal Defense Trial Lawyer” by the National Trial Lawyers. The National Academy of Criminal Defense Attorneys gave James Dimeas the “Top 10 Attorney Award for the State of Illinois”. James Dimeas is rated “Superb” by AVVO, 10 out of 10, the highest rating possible for any criminal defense lawyer in the United States. The American Society of Criminal Law Attorneys named James Dimeas a “10 Best Attorney for Client Satisfaction. Attorney and Practice Magazine gave James Dimeas the “Top 10 Criminal Defense Attorney Award for Illinois”.
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