Last week, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled upheld a Congressional decision to deny gun applications for medical cannabis patients. In 2011, a lawsuit was filed in Nevada after a marijuana cardholder was denied a firearm. The lawsuit claimed that the woman’s Second Amendment rights had been violated.
The Federal appeals court said her rights were not being marginalized, as cannabis is an illegal drug that “raises the risk of irrational or unpredictable behavior with which gun use should not be associated.”
The ruling applies to the Western states under the jurisdiction of the 9th Circuit, including California, Washington, Alaska, Hawaii, and Oregon.
Many critics of the decision see this as a continued attack on medical cannabis, which remains illegal under Federal law. The inequality regarding cannabis is clear when juxtaposed with alcohol use and gun ownership. It has been estimated that each day in America sees close to 30 people killed in homicides where alcohol played a factor. Coincidentally, (or not), there are an estimated 30 gun-related deaths per day in America.
While cannabis is unfairly perceived to incite “irrational or unpredictable behavior,” alcohol is very clearly a factor in gun-related violence. Yet alcohol is not a Schedule I drug. In fact, it is not even on the DEA’s list of Scheduled substances (even though it is not medically beneficial and has been proven to have a high rate of abuse among users.
Luckily for cannabis patients, there is no central list of American citizens that have been recommended cannabis by a medical professional. This means that gun stores are only able to conduct the criminal background checks already required. Due to doctor-patient confidentiality, no organization can verify if you are a medical cannabis patient unless you supply them with your physical recommendation and the verification website confirming you are a cardholder.
So if you are planning on purchasing a firearm, do not give the retailer any reason to suspect that you are a medical cannabis patient, or even know the word cannabis!
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