Whether its restrictions on their banking activities, ability to travel, medical care, or education, medical marijuana patients still have freedom to fight for in America — including their inability to legally own a gun.
Last week, the former head of the National Rifle Association (NRA) came out in defense of medical marijuana users in an opinion piece for The Washington Times, pleading with the federal government that “trading a constitutional right for pain relief is a choice no one should have to make.”
“Since gun purchasers must sign a form swearing they are not habitual drug users,” said David Keene, who is now an editor at large for the news outlet, “a holder of a marijuana prescription cannot both answer the question honestly and buy a firearm today from a gun dealer anywhere in the country.
This restriction on gun ownership can be traced back to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF), who classify those with medical marijuana recommendations as “admitted drug users” who are banned from buying, possessing, or utilizing a gun. Medical marijuana users who own guns live in a constant state of uncertainty as they grapple with state and federal law discrepancies.
In 2016, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which governs many legalized marijuana states on the western side of the country, ruled that the federal laws restricting medical marijuana users from legally obtaining firearms do not conflict with the 2nd Amendment, meaning patients are not having their rights violated by the prohibition. The court’s reasoning behind the ruling was cannabis has been known to cause “irrational or unpredictable behavior.”
According to federal law, a “user and/or an addict of any controlled substance” is prohibited from obtaining a firearm, yet the law ignores countless people toting guns while addicted to opioid painkillers