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Medical marijuana permits to affect gun ownership in Pennsylvania

If you're a gun enthusiast and you have a debilitating condition that you can treat with medical marijuana, you're going to have to make a choice -- guns or marijuana? You will not be able to have both in Pennsylvania.

You can drink and have a gun. You can spend time in a mental hospital and later buy a gun. But you can't be a card-holding medical marijuana user and own a gun under Pennsylvania's current medical marijuana laws.

Pennsylvania's new medical marijuana program to begin in early 2018

The medical marijuana laws in Pennsylvania will be strict. You will only qualify to use medicinal cannabis products if you have one or more of the 17 qualifying conditions. It's certainly a step in the right direction, but people have made their criticisms known -- particularly because getting a medical marijuana card will affect gun ownership and Second Amendment rights.

One lawyer from the Pennsylvania Bar Association's Medical Marijuana and Hemp Law Committee called the law "hypocritical." He said, "You can be an opioid addict, or buy a bottle of rum, drink it and go to a store and buy [a gun] ... but a person who is registered as a medical marijuana patient ... can't own a gun to protect themselves or hunt.

You might want to get rid of your guns if you get a medical pot card

The risk of getting arrested for a gun crime is very real for medical pot cardholders. As such, a spokesperson for the Pennsylvania State Police is suggesting that patients think about the consequences of continuing to own a gun before they register for a medical marijuana card.

Essentially, it will be unlawful for any cardholding medical marijuana recipient to retain possession of his or her firearm -- even if the gun was bought before getting the marijuana card.

Are you a gun owner planning to register for medical marijuana?

Gun owners who plan to register for medical marijuana cards might want to learn about their legal rights and options. It's important to explore what options -- if any -- will be available to you if you want to continue owning your gun after registering for medical marijuana. Failing to fully understand how this law will affect you could result in criminal law consequences.

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