Firearms Ban for Cannabis Users Ruled Unconstitutional By Another Federal Court

April 12, 2023 · Ganjapreneur

Midsection of woman drawing handgun from holster

A federal judge in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas last week found the federal ban on cannabis consumers possessing firearms to be unconstitutional, Marijuana Moment reports.

The ruling led to dropped charges against El Paso resident Paola Connelly, who had been convicted of possessing and transferring a firearm in 2021 while being an admitted cannabis consumer. The charges were ultimately dropped after the Supreme Court ruled last year that any restrictions on firearms must honor the historical context of the Second Amendment.

In the ruling, Judge Kathleen Cardone disputed the Justice Department’s arguments that the firearms ban leaned on the historical precedent of denying guns to intoxicated and “unvirtuous” citizens, the report said. Instead, the ruling suggested, “the historical tradition of disarming ‘unlawful’ individuals appears to mainly involve disarming those convicted of serious crimes after they have been afforded criminal process.”

The ruling also noted that the defendant was never actually convicted of a cannabis-related crime; rather, she had simply admitted to using cannabis to help with anxiety and sleeping. “The longstanding prohibition on possession of firearms by felons requires the Government to charge and convict an individual before disarming her,” Cardone said in the ruling.

Additionally, the ruling referenced the blanket pardoning last year of federal cannabis possession convictions by President Joe Biden, suggesting that, “even if Connelly were convicted of simple marijuana possession, that conviction would be expunged by the blanket presidential pardon of all such marijuana possessions that, like Connelly’s, took place before October 6, 2022.”

The case is just one of at least four ongoing cases drawing into question the legality of the federal ban on gun ownership for cannabis consumers, according to the report. Another federal judge in February found the ban on gun ownership for cannabis consumers to be unconstitutional under the Second Amendment — that decision, however, was ultimately appealed by the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma and will go next to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit. (Full Story)

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