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Recreational marijuana has gun buyers acting with caution

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Many have their minds made up as to whether or not they'll use recreational marijuana after the first of January, but for people who want to own and purchase guns, that decision may be more complicated.

The federal background check form you need to fill out to buy a gun from a dealer if you use illegal substances, and it reminds you that marijuana specifically is still illegal at a federal level, which has local officials and firearms users cautioning those looking to buy guns.

"We don't have a lot of information either from the state or the federal government as far as this is concerned", said Phil Alexander.

Alexander said when teaching his classes at Great River Fire Arm Training in Quincy, he doesn't know what to tell his students when they ask about recreation marijuana and buying guns.

"There's too many conflicts between the state and the federal government to be able to really give a definitive answer, I'm not a lawyer, I'm not a court of law I really can't give legal advice, that's gotta come from those people," said Alexander.

Those concerns extend to the local State's Attorney's office as well, where officials say they're still waiting for more direction from the federal level

"On January first is a legal substance, there is no basis for an individual to not receive a FOID card because they legally use cannabis," said Lead Trial Attorney at Adams County State's Attorney office Josh Jones.

Jones said while firearm sales between individuals and purchases of ammo likely won't be affected as they don't go through the federal background check process. the same can't be said for all gun purchases.

"Now once you have that FOID card to purchase firearms, is certainly a question that's up in the air and deals with areas of federal law that our office doesn't deal with," said Jones.

Alexander said that's why he tells his students this:

"My personal advice would be, if you're just going to try recreational marijuana just because you want to try it, don't, until there's been a court case that actually sets the law," said Alexander.

Illinois State Police said troopers won't be revoking FOID cards based only on legal cannabis usage, but in accordance with state and federal law, those who are addicted or a habitual user of narcotics will still not be permitted to use firearms

While federal authorities haven't commented on the issue, the Illinois State Police said FOID cards could also be denied or revoked for those who violate certain provisions of the cannabis regulation and tax act.

Recreational marijuana will become legal in the state of Illinois January first, it was signed into law June 2019.

Frank Healy

Multimedia Journalist at WGEM

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