Marijuana exists in this weird hole in American law. While technically illegal at the federal level, numerous states have legalized it, many even for recreational use.
For gun owners, though, this has presented a bit of a problem. You see, according to federal gun laws, you cannot lawfully possess a firearm if you use illegal drugs. Now, one would imagine that states legalizing marijuana would mean those using the substance in accordance with state law would be in the clear.
One would be wrong, however.
Or, more accurately, they would have been up until Friday, it seems. That’s when a federal judge in Oklahoma ruled that the prohibition against marijuana users owning guns was unconstitutional. Reuters reports:
U.S. District Judge Patrick Wyrick, an appointee of former Republican President Donald Trump in Oklahoma City, on Friday dismissed an indictment against a man charged in August with violating that ban, saying it infringed his right to bear arms under the U.S. Constitution’s Second Amendment.
Wyrick said that while the government can protect the public from dangerous people possessing guns, it could not argue Jared Harrison’s “mere status as a user of marijuana justifies stripping him of his fundamental right to possess a firearm.”
He said using marijuana was “not in and of itself a violent, forceful, or threatening act,” and noted that Oklahoma is one of a number of states where the drug, still illegal under federal law, can be legally bought for medical uses.
To call this huge would be an understatement, particularly in states with medical marijuana laws.
A prime example of why this is important can be found in Hawaii. Back in 2017, the Honolulu Police Department tried to confiscate guns from those with gun licenses and medical marijuana cards. Yes, this was also an example of why gun registration sucks, but I digress.
The point is that now, states can’t use the federal prohibition to try and deprive medical marijuana patients of their Second Amendment rights.
And really, this should have been dealt with a long time ago.
Presidents of both parties have basically agreed to look the other way on legalized marijuana, either medical or recreational. From President Obama to Trump to Biden, none have sought to use federal authority to crack down on dispensaries operating legally within such states. This has, to some extent, been a rare example of a bipartisan effort that doesn’t hose people’s fundamental freedoms. On the contrary, they seemingly respected those freedoms for a change.
Except when it came to guns.
Now, with this ruling, we have at least some degree of judicial ruling codifying the end to that practice. Finally.
Reuters reports that the Justice Department hadn’t commented as of this writing, so it remains to be seen whether or not they’ll appeal the ruling or not. I suspect they won’t. That’s based on the federal government’s past of not interfering with medical marijuana laws, though I’m not confident enough to put money down on that one.
Either way, this is a great ruling and I hope we see an end to the discriminatory practices that led to needing such a ruling.