Justices determined that state-registered medical marijuana patients are forbidden from purchasing firearms because cannabis remains classified as a Schedule I substance under federal law. They further opined that the ban “furthers the Government’s interest in preventing gun violence” because marijuana users “are more likely to be involved in violent crimes.”
They concluded, “[The plaintiff in this case] does not have a constitutionally protected liberty interest in simultaneously holding a [medical cannabis] registry card and purchasing a firearm.”
In 2011, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms issued a memorandum to all gun dealers in the United States specifying, “Any person who uses … marijuana, regardless of whether his or her state has passed legislation authorizing marijuana for medicinal purposes, is an unlawful user of or addicted to a controlled substance, and is prohibited by federal law from possessing firearms or ammunition.”
In response to today’s court ruling, NORML Deputy Director Paul Armentano said: “There is no credible justification for a ‘marijuana exception’ to the US Constitution. Responsible adults who use cannabis in a manner that is compliant with the laws of their states ought to receive the same legal rights and protections as do other citizens. It is incumbent that members of Congress act swiftly to amend cannabis’ criminal status in a way that comports with both public and scientific opinion, as well as its rapidly changing legal status under state laws.”
The Ninth Circuit decision, Wilson v Lynch et al., is available online here.
The federal government, notably under the current administration, continues to paint itself into a corner politically speaking regarding Mr. Obama’s pre-election promises to ‘fix the problem with medical marijuana’.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) issued a memorandum on September 21 to all gun dealers in the United States for the expressed purpose of informing them that they MUST discriminate against lawful medical cannabis patients and DENY them their Second Amendment right to buy and possess a firearm for hunting and/or personal protection.
The feds newest ‘clarifying’ memo regarding medical cannabis (proceeding the 2009 Ogden and 2011 Cole memos) is notable because members of NORML’s Legal Committee recently have been successfully challenging local and state law enforcement officials who’ve chosen to discriminate against lawful medical cannabis patients by denying them permits for a concealed weapon.
Why is it OK and does it make any sense at all for lawful medical patients who are prescribed powerful painkillers and sedatives to be able to enjoy their Second Amendment rights and responsibilities, but medical cannabis patients who want to hunt or have self-protection in their homes are overtly discriminated against by our own federal government?
This new ATF memo will provide an interesting test to see if the National Rifle Association really does support citizens’ rights to bear arms.