Marijuana Patients Can’t Buy Guns

Federal appeals court agrees to ban gun sales to medical marijuana patients

Marijuana Patients Can't Buy Guns

Public sentiment about marijuana use as medication is slowly changing, but the government’s view isn’t changing along with society’s views. Not only did the FDA refuse to reclassify marijuana out of the Schedule 1 category of the hardest drugs that includes heroin and cocaine, a court now says that medial marijuana patients shouldn’t be allowed to buy guns.

Recently, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in California agreed that the government’s ban on the sale of guns to medical marijuana card holders does not violate the Second Amendment. The ruling applies to the nine Western states that fall under the court’s jurisdiction, which includes California, Washington and Oregon. Out of the nine states in the court’s jurisdiction (California, Oregon, Washington, Hawaii, Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Nevada and Guam) only Idaho does not allow marijuana for medial or recreational use.

Marijuana remains illegal under federal law which makes it illegal for someone to possess a gun if he or she is “an unlawful user of, or addicted to” marijuana or other controlled substances. A September 2011 letter from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives states that medical marijuana patients are included in that definition.

The court’s ruling was in response to a Nevada woman who tried to buy a firearm in 2011 after obtaining a medical marijuana card. The gun store where she attempted to make the purchase refused, citing the federal ban on gun sales to so-called “drug users.” The court’s ruling is expected to be appealed.

A research study published online Wednesday by the journal Lancet Psychiatry shows that public opinion about marijuana is changing. More adults are using marijuana as both medicine and as a recreation drug, and fewer people think it is harmful. The ruling seems to be a holdover from the public opinion that everyone who partakes of marijuana wants to get “high.” Over a dozen years more than half a million adults participated in the Lancet study. Only a third of adults in 2014 said they thought weekly marijuana use was dangerous, down from half of adults in 2002.