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State police: Recreational marijuana purchases should not affect FOID card status

Recreational purchases should not affect FOID card status

Jennifer Slusinski displays several edible products in a bag Wednesday at Rise Joliet during the first day that marijuana and marijuana-based products could legally be sold in Illinois.
Jennifer Slusinski displays several edible products in a bag Wednesday at Rise Joliet during the first day that marijuana and marijuana-based products could legally be sold in Illinois.

The Illinois State Rifle Association said there has been misinformation shared on social media platforms regarding the purchase of recreational marijuana and how it relates to Firearm’s Owner’s Identification cards.

For instance, there is an article being shared with no link or identifiable source with the headline "Like guns? Avoid marijuana."

In a statement, the Illinois State Police said they will not revoke Firearms Owners Identification cards based solely on a person’s legal use of adult-use marijuana.

Recreational marijuana sales became legal Wednesday with more than 30 dispensaries opening up for sales, including one in Ottawa.

Illinois State Police also said the law forbids dispensaries from collecting and storing any personal information from adult-use marijuana buyers.

Officials said a valid state license or ID is required to be scanned by the dispensary during checkout to verify the customer is 21 years of age or older, just as retailers are required to do for sales of tobacco or alcohol. ISP officials stressed in a statement the consumer's information will not be stored in a database for future use, according to state law.

Under Illinois law, no cannabis dispensary can share a consumer's personal information, unless the consumer authorizes them, to anyone or any entity. This includes the Illinois State Police and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. 

When someone buys a firearm, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives require the individual to fill out an ATF E-Form 4473, the Firearm Transactions Record. Specifically, the individual must attest to the following: 

"Are you an unlawful user of, or addicted to, marijuana or any depressant, stimulant, narcotic drug, or any other controlled substance?"

"OK, so this seems pretty straightforward," said Ed Sullivan, Illinois State Rifle Association lobbyist and former state lawmaker. "According to federal law if you smoke cannabis you are an 'unlawful user' of a controlled substance. Is this the end of the conversation? No. The new Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act in Illinois specifically states in law that a person who uses recreational cannabis is not an 'unlawful user' of a controlled substance."

According to Illinois statute: "Lawful user and lawful products. For the purposes of this Act and to clarify the legislative findings on the lawful use of cannabis, a person shall not be considered an unlawful user or addicted to narcotics solely as a result of his or her possession or use of cannabis or cannabis paraphernalia in accordance with this Act."

"According to Illinois law, you are not considered an unlawful user if you use or possess cannabis," Sullivan said.

Illinois State Police stated they will revoke FOID cards where it is demonstrated an individual is addicted to or is a habitual user of marijuana. Authorities also would revoke or deny the FOID cards of those who violate certain provisions of the Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act.

Sullivan said there are differences between the purchase and use of recreational marijuana versus the purchase and use of medical marijuana as it relates to gun ownership.

Medical users are required to submit information to the Department of Public Health in order to qualify for a medical cannabis registry identification card, according to Illinois State Police.

"In order to ensure that only qualified medical patients receive the benefits of the lower tax rate and to prevent diversion from the medical program, dispensaries are authorized to collect information about medical patient purchases to ensure that those customers are qualified patients and that they are only purchasing the authorized amount," state police said in a statement.

Sullivan offered his own input in regard to medical marijuana purchases and how it may affect potential gun ownership.

"To use medical cannabis there are procedures and forms that must be filled out to get a Medical Cannabis Card that authorizes you to be in the program," Sullivan said. "While Illinois treats cannabis as a prescribed drug, the federal government considers cannabis to be a schedule I narcotic. As such, the federal government could gain access to your records as a medical cannabis user and therefore jeopardize your right to purchase a firearm from a Federal Firearm License. If you intend to use cannabis and own a firearm taking the recreational cannabis route has less potential, detrimental effects on your Second Amendment rights than the medical cannabis route."

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