Court of Appeal: State-sanctioned marijuana users not granted Second Amendment rights

The judges of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal today ruled in favor of a 1968 federal law prohibiting the sale of firearms to any “illegal user” of a federally controlled substance.

Judges have ruled that state-registered medical marijuana patients are prohibited from purchasing firearms because cannabis remains classified as a Schedule I substance under federal law. They further argued that the ban “promotes 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 right to liberty to simultaneously hold a [medical cannabis] registration card and the purchase of a firearm. “

In 2011, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms issued a memorandum to all arms dealers in the United States, stating: “Anyone who uses … marijuana, whether or not their state has passed legislation allowing marijuana for medical purposes, is an illegal user or addict to a drug. controlled substance, and is prohibited by federal law on the possession of firearms or ammunition. “

Responding 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 consume cannabis in a manner that complies with the laws of their state should have the same legal rights and protections as other citizens. It is incumbent on members of Congress to act quickly to change the criminal status of cannabis in a way that is compatible with public and scientific opinion, as well as its rapidly changing legal status under state laws.

The Ninth Circuit ruling, Wilson v Lynch et al., Is available online here.

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