Once Ohio’s medical marijuana program gets off the ground, the state will rely on the honor system to ensure those seeking concealed-carry permits aren’t also licensed to use pot for medical reasons.
Federal law prohibits cannabis users from possessing a gun or getting a CCW, but background checks conducted before Ohioans buy firearms or get a concealed-carry permit won’t indicate whether or not someone is registered as a medical marijuana user.
The medical marijuana patient registry will be accessible only to qualified doctors, Ohio Board of Pharmacy spokesman Cameron McNamee said.
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“The patient registry itself is protected information and only those doctors who are certified will be able to access the patient registry,” he said.
If someone purchases medical cannabis from a licensed dispensary, that information will be entered into the Ohio Automated Rx Reporting System to make sure someone doesn’t buy more than the legal limit of a 90-day supply. But access to OARRS is limited to doctors and pharmacists.
“It’s locked down pretty tight,” McNamee said.
Law enforcement and heathcare regulators – such as medical board or board of pharmacy investigators — only have access to these systems if they have an active drug investigation, McNamee said. They can’t take the data in bulk or go fishing for names.
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This means the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) won’t have that information. NICS is the system used by licensed gun dealers and law enforcement agencies that issue concealed-carry permits to make sure someone is legally allowed to possess a gun.
The Ohio Attorney General’s Office this week confirmed that Ohioans who use marijuana – even legally under state law – are prohibited from obtaining a concealed carry permit.
“Ohio CCW law requires persons to follow federal law,” spokesman Dan Tierney said. “Federal law prohibits you from having a firearm if you use marijuana because it’s a Schedule 1 drug.”
Gun buyers who purchase from a licensed dealer must sign a form attesting they don’t use marijuana, even medically. Lying on the form is a felony under federal law, punishable by up to 10 years in prison.
But Ohio law doesn’t require a background check or federal form for same-state private firearm transactions, including many guns sold online or at gun shows, as long as the seller has no reason to believe the buyer is prohibited from possessing a gun.
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