Marijuana & Firearms Licensing

Although possession of less than an ounce of Marijuana was decriminalized, a conviction for unlawful marijuana possession, a Class D Controlled Substance in Massachusetts, remains a statutory disqualifier for a License to Carry Firearms. However, a conviction for simple possession of marijuana will not disqualify someone from being issued or holding a Firearms Identification Card, so long as the conviction is at least 5 years old. A conviction for trafficking in marijuana would constitute a lifetime disqualifier.

Also, although possession of less than an ounce of marijuana is now a civil infraction in Massachusetts, it is still a violation of federal law. Furthermore, pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 922(d)(3), it is a federal offense for a person to sell or transfer any firearm or ammunition to a person who the transferor knows or has having reasonable cause to believe that the transferee is an unlawful user of or addicted to a controlled substance.

The Federal Controlled Substances Act of 1970 completely prohibits all medicinal use of marijuana by placing it in the most restrictive category of Schedule 1. The DEA has determined that controlled substances placed in this category 1) have no therapeutic value, 2) are not safe for medical use, and 3) have a high abuse potential. Therefore, under federal law, there are no “lawful users” of marijuana, notwithstanding any state registration, decriminalization, or “legalization.” As such, the possession or use of marijuana still violates federal law.

When it comes to deciding whether or not to issue a LTC, a police chief or licensing officer can still use marijuana use or possession as a reason to determine than the applicant is unsuitable to hold such a license.

There are ways to overcome disqualifying marijuana convictions when seeking a License to Carry Firearms, especially if you have an otherwise clean record and a legitimate need for such a license for employment or other valid purposes.