Federal Court: Gun Ban On Marijuana Users Unconstitutional In A New Texas Ruling

Recent Second Amendment cases have set a precedent for stricter scrutiny of gun restrictions, presenting mounting challenges for the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) in its defense of the gun ban on cannabis users in multiple courts.

A New Case

A federal court has ruled once again that it is unconstitutional to prohibit gun possession for individuals who use marijuana.

As first reported by Marijuana Moment in a victory for El Paso, Texas, Paola Connelly admitted to being a cannabis user. The U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas granted a motion for reconsideration of her case and ultimately dismissed the charges against her for possessing and transferring a firearm in 2021.

Judge Kathleen Cardone's decision adds to a growing body of cases supporting the right of marijuana users to possess and acquire firearms.

The Ruling

The court ruled that a ban on firearm possession by marijuana users is unconstitutional, particularly as cannabis possession is only considered a misdemeanor under federal law. “Any historical tradition of disarming ‘unlawful’ individuals does not support disarming Connelly for her alleged marijuana use,” per the ruling.

The judge noted that even if the defendant had been convicted of a marijuana offense, President Biden’s pardon would expunge such a conviction.

However, the court challenged the government’s position that cannabis users are inherently “dangerous” and pointed out that over 20 states have legalized marijuana use, with millions of US citizens using the substance regularly.

Additionally, the court ruled that the same shortcomings in the government’s defense of the firearms ban for marijuana consumers are found in the ban on selling or transferring firearms to such individuals, arguing that such broad prohibitions burden Second Amendment rights.

Precedents

In November 2022, a Federal Court dismissed a lawsuit filed by Former Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried.

Similarly, Republican Senator Dan Laughlin of Pennsylvania recently called on state law enforcement to take action to protect the gun rights of marijuana users, particularly medical cannabis patients. The GOP Senator cited a recent ruling by Oklahoma federal judge Patrick Wyrick that determined a federal law banning cannabis consumers from owning firearms is unconstitutional.

Finally, the DOJ recently addressed the federal government ban on medical marijuana patients' ability to buy and own guns. “Although plaintiffs seek to use marijuana, their arguments on this score are not limited to marijuana and would instead cast doubt on Congress’s ability to disarm unlawful users of any controlled substance, including cocaine, fentanyl, or methamphetamines," the DOJ brief reads.

Image Credits: mwewering and PeterPike by Pixabay Edited By Benzinga

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Posted In: CannabisGovernmentNewsRegulationsPoliticsMarketsGeneralDan LaughlinJudge Kathleen CardoneNikki FriedPaola ConnellyPresident BidenSecond AmendmentU.S. Department of JusticeU.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas
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