The issue of legalizing marijuana has been a contentious topic for some time now. People have debated over the effects that marijuana has on users and because of this, the idea of legalizing it in any form has become a hot-button issue. Only in recent years have we seen some states alter their laws regarding the legalizing of this illegal drug for either medical use, recreational use, or both.
Under current federal law, marijuana is still illegal. Therefore, firearm dealers are allowed to deny a person the purchase of a firearm, even if they have a legally attained medical marijuana card. This legal issue gathered more steam after the ruling in the case Wilson v. Lynch where a woman was not allowed to buy a gun because she possess a medical marijuana card. In the ruling, an Open Letter was sent from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) that basically said that any person who is addicted to or uses marijuana is not allowed to possess firearms or ammunition, even if the state they live in legally allows for marijuana use in medical situations.
Additional evidence that the court cites as reasoning behind this conclusion is the fact that on the Over-The Counter Transaction Record, question 11e asks “Are you an unlawful user of, or addicted to, marijuana?” of which a person in Wilson’s situation would have to answer yes.
On one side of the argument, it is believed that people who use marijuana “…experience altered or impaired mental states that affect their judgment and that can lead to irrational or unpredictable behavior.” The concerns exist that any use of marijuana, whether medical or otherwise, can have these adverse reactions, so by allowing people to purchase guns who have a medical marijuana card, they are taking on an increased risk of something dangerous happening as a result.
On the other hand, by not allowing medical marijuana users to purchase firearms, this law is suggesting that there is no distinction between a person who needs marijuana for certain medical conditions and a person who is a habitual illegal drug user.
It is a very interesting debate and one that should be taken note of, especially if you are a person who holds a medical marijuana card in the state of California, where this current law banning the purchase of firearms is legal. If you feel that your rights have been violated or wish to speak with an attorney to learn more about what you can do in a situation such as this, feel free to contact an experienced Orange County criminal defense attorney at the Law Office of Michael L. Guisti. We are dedicated to helping you with any complicated legal matters, so give us a call today at (714) 530-9690 or Toll Free (888) 478-8999.