Cannabis reform activists and users recently scored a major win after an Oklahoma federal judge ruled that banning cannabis users from owning firearms is unconstitutional. Although tens of millions of Americans now have access to cannabis via state-legal medical and recreational markets, federal law still prohibits the production, distribution, sale and use of marijuana. As a result, cannabis users often find themselves facing repercussions for consuming cannabis per their home state’s regulations.
One such consequence is that individuals who use marijuana are prohibited by federal law from purchasing and owning firearms, a right that is afforded to all Americans through the Second Amendment.
The new ruling came after Oklahoma native Jared Michael Harrison, who had been arrested after a traffic stop where police officers discovered cannabis and a loaded revolver in his car, filed a legal challenge against the country’s federal firearms legislation. His attorneys argued that Harrison’s right to bear arms was violated after a federal law made it illegal for “unlawful users or addicts of controlled substances.”
At the time of his arrest, Harrison informed law enforcement that he was on his way to work at a medical cannabis dispensary, but he did not possess a medical cannabis card. According to his lawyers, the federal firearm legislation that made it illegal for Harrison and other cannabis users to own firearms was in direct contradiction with America’s history of regulating firearms.
They touched on a 2022 ruling where federal prosecutors argued that the regulations were in line with America’s history of preemptively disarming people who were considered at risk such as felons, the intoxicated and the mentally ill. U.S. District Judge Patrick Wyrick ruled in favor of Harrison, arguing that his status as a cannabis user was not enough legal justification to strip him of his second amendment right to bear arms and was unconstitutional.
Wyrick stated that using cannabis was not in line with the characteristics of individuals who had, historically, been prevented from exercising their second amendment rights. Wyrick also noted that marijuana was widely accessible under Oklahoma’s legal marijuana market and that citizens could legally purchase the plant at more than 2,000 authorized stores across the state.
The ruling comes just a few months after a Texas federal judge ruled that the federal government could not prevent individuals under felony indictment from purchasing and owning guns. A day before the ruling in Oklahoma, a panel of judges in the New Orleans’ 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals also ruled that it was unconstitutional to ban individuals with domestic violence restraining orders from owning firearms.
As more states allow qualifying residents to grow their own marijuana, more contradictions between state and federal rules will be unearthed even as opportunities are created for manufacturers such as Advanced Container Technologies Inc. (OTC: ACTX) that make the necessary equipment for indoor grows.
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