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Concealed Firearms and Marijuana in Illinois

Illinois has legalized marijuana and caused many questions for concealed carry licensees in Illinois. Can I carry a concealed firearm while under the influence of marijuana? How much marijuana may I transport while carrying a concealed firearm? Will Marijuana use void my Illinois Concealed Carry License?

As you may recall from your concealed carry license class, we tell all of our students, “There are three types of law. There is letter of the law, that is what the law says. There is legislative intent, that is what the lawmakers meant to say. Then there is case law, and that is how the judges interpret the law after the arrests have been made.” I bring that up to remind concealed carry licensees, that the use of recreational marijuana is brand new in Illinois and thus until we have some arrest and case law, we won’t have all the answers.

While this article shall deal specifically with concealed carry and marijuana in Illinois, if you would like a general overview of gun ownership and marijuana in Illinois, check out the article Marijuana and Guns in Illinois.

This article is not to be considered legal advice and questions should be directed to your criminal defense attorney.

 

Will Marijuana use void my Illinois Concealed Carry License?

In a clear as mud statement from the Illinois State Police, they both said they will and they won’t revoke concealed carry licenses. What the statement actually did say is as follows:

The Illinois State Police will not revoke Firearm’s Owner’s Identification Cards based solely on a person’s legal use of adult use cannabis. Pursuant to both State and Federal law, a person who is addicted to or a habitual user of narcotics is not permitted to possess or use firearms. Accordingly, the ISP will revoke FOID cards where it is demonstrated that an individual is addicted to or is a habitual user of cannabis. The ISP would also revoke or deny the FOID cards of those who violate certain provisions of the Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act. The use of cannabis is still considered to be illegal by the Federal government and the purchase of a firearm from a federally licensed firearms dealer is governed by Federal law.

It is assumed that this means, the purchase of recreational marijuana won’t be an automatic defacto revocation of your Illinois Concealed Carry license, however, if you violate certain unspecified portions of the act, then there is a chance your concealed carry license may be revoked. But what those sections are, well, your guess is as good as mine. Likely driving or carrying under the influence or exceeding the marijuana possession limitations. But, you know what they say about assuming.

 

Can I carry a concealed firearm while under the influence of marijuana?

Just as we say, for safety reasons, “guns and alcohol do not mix” so too drugs and alcohol don’t mix. A good rule of thumb is if you wouldn’t drive a car or operate machinery, it’s a good idea to also not operate a gun. Having said that Illinois law is more precise than simple rules of thumb.

The Illinois Concealed Carry Licensing act states:

(430 ILCS 66/70)
Sec. 70. Violations.
(d) A licensee shall not carry a concealed firearm while under the influence of alcohol, other drug or drugs, intoxicating compound or combination of compounds, or any combination thereof, under the standards set forth in subsection (a) of Section 11-501 of the Illinois Vehicle Code.

The Illinois Vehicle Code states:

(625 ILCS 5/11-501) (from Ch. 95 1/2, par. 11-501)
Sec. 11-501. Driving while under the influence of alcohol, other drug or drugs, intoxicating compound or compounds or any combination thereof.

(7) the person has, within 2 hours of driving or being in actual physical control of a vehicle, a tetrahydrocannabinol concentration in the person’s whole blood or other bodily substance as defined in paragraph 6 of subsection (a) of Section 11-501.2 of this Code. Subject to all other requirements and provisions under this Section, this paragraph (7) does not apply to the lawful consumption of cannabis by a qualifying patient licensed under the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Program Act who is in possession of a valid registry card issued under that Act, unless that person is impaired by the use of cannabis.
(b) The fact that any person charged with violating this Section is or has been legally entitled to use alcohol, cannabis under the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Program Act, other drug or drugs, or intoxicating compound or compounds, or any combination thereof, shall not constitute a defense against any charge of violating this Section.

(625 ILCS 5/11-501.2) (from Ch. 95 1/2, par. 11-501.2)
Sec. 11-501.2. Chemical and other tests.
(a) Upon the trial of any civil or criminal action or proceeding arising out of an arrest for an offense as defined in Section 11-501 or a similar local ordinance or proceedings pursuant to Section 2-118.1, evidence of the concentration of alcohol, other drug or drugs, or intoxicating compound or compounds, or any combination thereof in a person’s blood or breath at the time alleged, as determined by analysis of the person’s blood, urine, breath, or other bodily substance, shall be admissible. Where such test is made the following provisions shall apply:

6. Tetrahydrocannabinol concentration means either 5 nanograms or more of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol per milliliter of whole blood or 10 nanograms or more of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol per milliliter of other bodily substance.

 

That’s a mouthful. But what does it all mean? First, the Illinois Concealed Carry Licensing Act is basically stating “If you would be guilty of driving a motor vehicle under the influence, refer to those same criteria to be guilty of carrying a firearm while under the influence.” This really has nothing to do with driving, walking, crawling, hitching a ride, a bicycle, or public transportation. It has everything to do with carrying a concealed firearm while under the influence, and what determines if you are under the influence, is the Illinois vehicle code.

Then the Illinois Vehicle Code lays out specific criteria for what is to be considered under the influence of marijuana as having a tetrahydrocannabinol (cannabis) concentration of either 5 nanograms or more per milliliter of whole blood or 10 nanograms or more per milliliter of other bodily substance. Technology does exist which allows police officers to perform roadside drug tests for THC levels in a person. Also remember, officers may arrest if they feel you are under the influence, even if their tests show otherwise.

The real question is how much consumed marijuana actually translates into 5 or 10 nanograms and that’s going to depend on the size of the person and potency of the product consumed. For this reason, it is prudent for the concealed carry licensee to exercise a zero tolerance policy while carrying a concealed firearm. Why risk it with such fuzzy science?

 

How much marijuana may I transport while carrying a concealed firearm?

That’s a valid question. I advocate to carry whenever and where ever legally possible. So let’s say you are going to your local dispensary, and are carrying your concealed firearm on your person. The Illinois Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act is 150 pages when printed. Initial review of the act doesn’t appear to place any specific restrictions upon how much marijuana a gun owner may transport on their person while also transporting or carrying a firearm. The Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act does place a possession limit as…

(410 ILCS 705/10-10)
Sec. 10-10. Possession limit.
(a) Except if otherwise authorized by this Act, for a person who is 21 years of age or older and a resident of this State, the possession limit is as follows:
(1) 30 grams of cannabis flower;
(2) no more than 500 milligrams of THC contained in cannabis-infused product;
(3) 5 grams of cannabis concentrate; and
(4) for registered qualifying patients, any cannabis produced by cannabis plants grown under subsection (b) of Section 10-5, provided any amount of cannabis produced in excess of 30 grams of raw cannabis or its equivalent must remain secured within the residence or residential property in which it was grown.

Meaning basically, it appears a gun owner may transport up to, but not exceeding 30 grams of marijuana on their person while also carrying or transporting the gun. This truly is something I would recommend conferring with your criminal defense attorney.

 

Remember, marijuana is still illegal at a federal level. Alpha Koncepts is advising its’ Illinois students to take a “Wait and see” approach before deciding to use recreational marijuana. There certainly shall be some test cases. Can you afford to be the test case?

 

 



About the Author

Thomas Kral is the chief firearm instructor for Alpha Koncepts Firearm Training and has been instructing students on the safe and efficient use of a firearm since 2013. Thomas has numerous firearm industry certifications including instructor credentials from the United States Concealed Carry Association, the National Rifle Association, Next Level Defense, Ultimate Training Munitions, and The American Gunsmithing Institute.

Thomas Kral is also the founder of a gun rights organization, GunRights4Illinois. Founded in 2014, GunRights4Illinois is blossoming into a no-compromise gun rights organization enabling Illinois gun owners to fight for their rights.

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