Can You Get a Pistol Permit If Your Medical Cannabis Card Has Expired?
After letting you medical card expire are you still unable to get a firearm permit/buy weapons or ammo? I found an answer about being a current card holder but if the card expires are you flagged for all future background checks for firearms? I would like to get a card but also would like to own a firearm at some point and in curious if I'd exclude me from getting one even if the card is expired.
Thank you for your question, Raymond. First, a bit of background on this issue. In one of our most popular questions, we discussed the issue of obtaining a pistol permit (concealed carry firearm license) if you are a registered medical cannabis patient in New York State. Since then, we've received an influx of questions from patients asking how they can legally obtain a pistol permit. For instance, if you let your medical cannabis card expire does that mean that your name automatically disappears from the State system and that can you successfully apply for a pistol permit? Let's take a deeper dive into this topic below.
First and foremost, we do not condone lying on an application to obtain a firearm. Doing so is a crime punishable by a fine and/or imprisonment.
We can only point you back to our original question and state the obvious. If you can read the question on your firearms license application that asks about illicit drug use and answer "no" you might be able to obtain a firearm.
Does Letting Your Medical Card Expire Remove Record of Your Name?
The State's Medical Cannabis Data Management System (MCDMS) likely retains your name and patient information even after your card expires, because people allow their cards to expire before having them renewed all the time.
Even though the MCDMS stores your information long-term, that is not what prevents you from obtaining a pistol permit.
Some people are under the impression that the State's MCDMS and Firearms license application processing systems are in direct communication or that MCDMS gets cross-referenced when screening firearms applications. I seriously doubt that's the case. Could someone that works for the State that has access to both systems look up your information in the MCDMS? Possibly yes, but it's not likely in my opinion.
The main issue at hand is still the question on the firearms application that asks the following:
"Are you an unlawful user of or addicted to any controlled substance as defined in section 21 U.S.C. 802? Yes or No"
If you answer yes to this question, then your application is likely going to be denied. If you answer no, then you may have a shot at getting a pistol permit.
If you lie and say no, even though you are a registered medical cannabis patient, you're still technically an unlawful user of a controlled substance because USC 802 is a Federal Statute and cannabis is still a Schedule I controlled substance under Federal law.
How Long Do You Need To Wait After Letting Your Card Expire?
Some people are also under the impression that there is some sort of time period you should wait before applying for a pistol permit. Again, there is no time period referenced in the question on the firearms application. The question simply asks if you are a user of or addicted to any controlled substances.
Again, if you lie here, you're exposing yourself to a fine and possible imprisonment.
If you can answer no to that question truthfully, you might get approved for your firearms application. It does not matter how long it has been since your cards expired because the question is somewhat ambiguous and seems to only care if you "are (currently) a user of or addicted to any controlled substances."
I hope this helps answer your question and helps put this issue to rest for a lot of people that have reached out to us since the original question was asked.
Please don't hesitate to reach back out at any time and thanks again!
- Apply for a Firearms License (Application Webpage).
- §802. Definitions (Legislation).
- Can I receive a Medical Cannabis Card if I Have My Pistol Permit (Link).