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Cannabis and Gun Rights: A Case for Full Legalization

With cannabis reform spreading like wildfire from the coasts toward the center of the country the conflict between Federal and State level laws causes numerous legal conundrums. The one that most directly affects the average consumer is the Department of Justice rule that forbids cannabis consumers from owning and possessing firearms.


Section 922(g)(3) of the Federal code states that possession of a firearm by an unlawful user of an illegal drug is grounds for revocation of that individual’s 2nd Amendment Rights. The Department of Justice has long interpreted this to mean that cannabis users should be barred from firearm ownership. Once states started legalizing cannabis on their own, the question of what constitutes “an unlawful user of an illegal drug” became murky pretty quickly. 


Especially tricky is the intersection of cannabis laws, gun laws and medical cannabis. Having a prescription for pain medication does not, on its own, trigger the revocation of 2nd Amendment rights. There are 3.8 million American citizens that currently consume cannabis for medical purposes. Every single one of these individuals has to choose between using a plant to avoid being a cog in the pharmaceutical machine and having the right to bear arms. 


Following this line of thought, it is reasonable to assume that there are American citizens who are using pharmaceuticals with sometimes dangerous side-effects instead of choosing a safe, natural alternative in order to maintain the integrity of their gun rights. In an era of increasingly frequent mass shootings and gun violence - this is a situation that should be rectified as soon as possible. The idea that cannabis consumers are somehow a danger to themselves or others is a preposterous one that is certainly rooted in “Reefer Madness” prohibitionist thinking.


The only way to fully correct this situation is full legalization at the federal level. Any solution short of full legalization and complete descheduling will leave the rights, and ultimately the safety, in the hands of politicians and bureaucrats at the Department of Justice. It is time now for every cannabis consumer and every firearm rights advocate to urge our leaders to fully legalize cannabis at the federal level and increase the safety and individual rights of everyone.

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