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The Correlation Between Medical Marijuana and the Second Amendment in Federal Courts.pdf (69.69 kB)

The Correlation Between Medical Marijuana and the Second Amendment in Federal Courts

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posted on 2023-11-20, 19:56 authored by Nandana Kumar

Recent judicial proceedings have posed questions as to whether state-approved medical marijuana users are able to carry guns under federal gun regulations. The constitutionality of a federal statute criminalizing possession of firearms by medical marijuana patients is being litigated in an appeal before the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. This is a contentious debate about the importance of clear legislation to ensure the Second Amendment rights of people using medicinal marijuana in states where it is allowed. In order to understand the peculiarities of this particular instance, it should be mentioned that a group of Floridians have been excluded from the right to possess weapons due to the Federal law concerning medical marijuana. The rule has proved useful, especially in eminent cases like that of Hunter Biden, who was suspected of having a firearm offense when high on crack cocaine.

The plaintiffs claim that through a constitutional violation, the government prohibition renders them not allowed to bear arms according to the Second Amendment. However, they argue that any constitutional limitations for the exercise of firearms rights shall be historically congruent with prior practices in the state as per the ruling by the US Supreme Court in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen [2]. The plaintiffs initially joined the lawsuit along with then-Florida’s agriculture commissioner, Nikki Fried, a Democrat, as they argued that although marijuana is still considered an illegal substance under federal laws, the Rohrabacher-Farr Amendment bars the US Department of Justice from meddling with state medical marijuana programs [3]. This they argue, indicates that the federal government has acknowledged states’ rights to legalize medical marijuana.

In response, the Justice Department on behalf of the Federal Government compares the denial of firearms to persons who are addicted to drugs with the previous legislation banning possession of arms to mentally ill people or alcoholics. Yet the parallel is contested by plaintiffs. Critical Differences between Use and Impairment: Even conceding that medical marijuana use is unlawful, and insisting upon the distinction between use and impairment, there has never in history been a valid justification for arming people who may be sober. During the hearing, Judge Robert Luck representing the United States Circuit Court of Appeals, supported the plaintiff’s position. He claims they covered only for the current stage of drunkenness leaving out other states of drunkenness. Such perspective questions as to whether individuals, being sober citizens, need limitations. However, U.S. Circuit Judge Elizabeth Branch, a nominee of former President Donald Trump, draws attention to the federal marijuana ban as well as its negative impacts on one’s mental health.

The decision of the 11th Circuit could be impactful not only on the very parties involved but also in a broader sense. The federal statute was earlier declared invalid as it applied to a marijuana user on the basis of a ruling by the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in August, thereby forming grounds for victory for the plaintiffs’ side. The judicial alignment illustrates the necessity for legislative clarity in order to align federal law with state-certified medical marijuana programs, safeguarding fundamental peoples’ rights. This important case pending in the Eleventh Circuit will have a very important bearing on the legal climate surrounding the Second Amendment right of medical marijuana users. The state vs. federal laws reveal an aspect that the legislators should take time to grasp when it comes to marijuana legalization as well as federal firearm restrictions. Before any violation of constitutional rights by the court takes place unnecessary lawmakers must critically strike a balance between state power and federal watch over it. This instance brings to light the necessity of law reform that reacts to the evolving state of marijuana regulation and defends individual rights.



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