Federal Government Says Medical Marijuana Card Holders Can't Buy A Gun
The ruling applies to nine states including Nevada, California, Washington, and Oregon.
Published on September 1, 2016

Early Wednesday, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decided that the existing federal government ban on the sale of guns to medical marijuana card holders does not violate the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. The ruling applies to nine states that fall under the court’s jurisdiction, which includes cannabis-friendly states like Nevada, California, Washington, and Oregon.

The decision to uphold the ban came due to a lawsuit filed by a Northern Nevada-based woman named S. Rowan Wilson, who was denied by the gun store in 2011 from purchasing a firearm. The gun store cited the existing federal ruling as the reason for their refusal to sell a gun to Wilson.

Under federal law, gun sellers are justified in the assumption that a person with a medical marijuana card will be more likely to use “the drug”, and therefore should not be sold a firearm.

According to Senior District Judge Jed Rakoff, the use of drugs such as marijuana “use of such drugs “raises the risk of irrational or unpredictable behavior with which gun use should not be associated.”

In this particular case in Nevada, the three 9th Circuit judges on the case voted unanimously that it’s reasonable for gun seller to continue denying firearm sales to medical marijuana card holders. Additionally, the judges rejected other constitutional challenges about the ban that were raised by Wilson.

It seems pretty clear that, in order to make their argument without any plausible rebuttal, the 9th District is lumping marijuana in with the terrifying buzz word “drug”, even if it is medicinally recommended. The argument on the Second Amendment is a whole other issue on its own, but what we are seeing here is the federal government’s same old refusal to acknowledge cannabis as a medicinal remedy, which has stripped an arguably important right from citizens who benefit the most from medical marijuana.

Tyler Koslow
Tyler Koslow is a Brooklyn-based freelance writer with an intensive focus on technology, music, pop culture, and of course, cannabis and its impending legalization.
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