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High Time: Why Shouldn’t Medical Cannabis Patients Have Guns?

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If it’s medicine, why aren’t patients allowed to own firearms?

There’s been a paradigm shift in the way America treats marijuana over the last 10 years. Right now, 38 states permit its use for medical purposes … and those medical purposes do seem to be legitimate, including stimulating appetite for cancer patients and relieving intractable migraines. Imagine telling a cancer patient that they have a choice between medication that will help save their health, and a firearm that might help save their life. Imagine telling someone that the agony of migraine can only be relieved by giving up an essential right. Yes, marijuana is a drug. So are methotrexate, prednisone, gabapentin, and all those other drugs used to treat our ailments, serious and otherwise (and many of those drugs are mood-altering indeed).

Enter the Second Amendment Foundation. SAF and a District Attorney in Pennsylvania have filed a federal lawsuit against Attorney General Merrick Garland, the heads of the FBI and ATF, and the U.S. Government, challenging the federal prohibition on gun ownership by medical marijuana users.

The lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania. In addition to Garland, the lawsuit names FBI Director Christopher Wray and ATF Director Steven Dettelbach as defendants. SAF is joined by Warren County, Pa. District Attorney Robert Greene, who has served in that office since 2013 and currently possesses a medical marijuana ID card under Pennsylvania law. They are represented by attorneys Adam Kraut, who serves as SAF executive director, and Joshua Prince of Bechtelsville, Pa.

The lawsuit challenges restrictions contained in 18 U.S.C. §§ 922(g)(3), (d)(3), which prohibit firearms purchases and possession by persons who use marijuana or other controlled substances.

“Medicinal marijuana has been adopted by 38 states despite federal inaction on the issue,” said Kraut, who is also a practicing attorney in Pennsylvania. “With the increasing acceptance of medical cannabis, millions of Americans are forced to choose between the exercise of their Second Amendment rights or treating their symptoms with a substance that disenfranchises them from their constitutionally guaranteed right to keep and bear arms. Such a choice is incompatible with the constitution and finds no basis in this country’s history and tradition. We look forward to vindicating the rights of medical marijuana users.”

“The use of medical marijuana should not translate to an automatic surrender of one’s Second Amendment rights,” added SAF founder and Executive Vice President Alan M. Gottlieb. “The current restrictions unquestionably and arbitrarily infringe on the right to keep and bear arms, and the restriction lacks any director or analogous historical support, as required by the Supreme Court’s 2022 Bruen ruling.”

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