Oregon Supreme Court: Medical Cannabis Patients Have Second Amendment Rights Too

  • by Allen St. Pierre, Former NORML Executive Director May 19, 2011

    Great news today from Oregon’s Supreme Court (as compared to SCOTUS!) regarding personal responsibility and liberty in ruling for a medical cannabis patient who was denied their full Second Amendment rights simply because they use cannabis.

    The case was largely championed by NORML Legal Committee member and Amicus chair Leland Berger of Portland and from legal counsel from the National Rifle Association.

    Mr. Berger’s remarks are found below announcing the case today on NORML’s network. The decision can be read here.

    “To conclude: the sheriffs in this case are not excused from their duty under ORS 166.291(1) to issue CHLs to qualified applicants, without regard to the applicant’s use of medical marijuana, on the ground that issuance of CHLs to medical marijuana users would violate a federal prohibition on making false statements about the lawfulness of transferring firearms to such persons. Neither are the sheriffs excused from that statutory duty on the ground that it is preempted by federal law. The sheriffs were without authority to deny petitioner’s CHL applications.”

    Full text of unanimous opinion, authored by the chief, issued 77 days after oral argument online here:


    Many thanks to John Lucy, who has forgotten more obscure gun law (and facts) than I ever knew, to OPDS Appellate Section for meeting with John and I pre-argument for a discussion of potential questions, to Adelia Hwang for researching federal legislative history of the federal guncontrol act and to Kristin Stankiewicz for her research assistance onother issues; to Alan Silber of Roseland NJ for developing a judicialestoppel argument and to Bill Panzer of Oakland, CA for explaining it to me.

    But mostly I am grateful for the courage of medical cannabis patients Paul Sansone, Steven Schwerdt, Eli Wallick and Cynthia Willis for standing up to the lawless Sheriffs of Washington and Jackson Counties, here in Oregon.


    Lee Berger, Portland, OR

    Associated Press coverage of the case is found here.

    37 responses to “Oregon Supreme Court: Medical Cannabis Patients Have Second Amendment Rights Too”

    1. Colt Brown says:

      good job guys. law is sometimes lawless and needs to be brought to trial

    2. Just Legalize It says:

      I’d rather have a high person holding the gun than someone on alcohol, most prescription drugs, or any other illicit drug. How many times do you see people getting high and then fighting? How much violence period do you see from marijuana users? That alone should give you your answer as to if MMJ PATIENTS should be able to carry.

    3. CW says:

      that’s awesome

    4. Paul Revere says:

      I and the rest of the countries forfathers approve this legal outcome.

      Congratulations Washington State.

    5. rev.sleezy says:

      Holy Smokes. A winner for true liberty. It’s about time we see through the facade of the DEA and LEA attempts to control the civilians with overwhelming power of authority. Good job Oregon. You got this one right. Now, if only the Supreme Court can see the errors of their way on warrantless searches of domiciles.

      Two days left.

      The Rev.sLeezy
      Potland, OR

    6. I still don’t know what my position is on that question, haven’t made my mind yet. I am sure there are many other ways of treatment, btw.

    7. The American Genesist says:

      “If thou doest well – shall thou not be accepted?”

      Accepted??? – Frankly – “I don’t believe one f’n word government says – not one single word.” I do not accept this government – “I reject it!” I also have to say – “This is the greatest grievance I have – not believing in my own government – not having an ounce of trust in government – absolute loss of faith in elected representatives of We the People. For these reasons – I harbor this belief and follow the wisdom of our founders:

      When in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and assume among the Powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinion of mankind requires that they should declare the cause which impels them to the separation.

      In this case – the cause which impels me to the separation is:

      1. I have sworn allegiance to God and State to – defend my God and my country against all enemies foreign and domestic [emphasize domestic].
      2. Abusive Governmental Authority.
      3. Treason.
      4. Alienation of Affection

      If I kept going – the list of violations would be as long as my arm. The two grievances – equally as important as the others – but – in the order of priority are – “They fucked with my Constitution – and – they fucked with my religion.” they must give them back! They can’t have either!. I reject them and their misuse of their power! Keep their f’n nose out of my business – and – take their evil little act down the road! We the People will weed you out of “our government” – and – make no bones about it. Better go hide. 2012 – Here we come – ready or not.