You can have a medical marijuana card or you can have a gun, but you can’t have both, a federal appeals court said Wednesday.
Rowan Wilson, who has a legal Nevada medical marijuana registry card, in 2011 sued after a gun dealer in rural Moundhouse, Nevada, refused to sell her a firearm. Federal law states anyone who is an “unlawful user of or addicted to any controlled substance” may not possess a firearm or ammunition.
The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld dismissal of Wilson’s lawsuit because marijuana is still an illegal, controlled substance under federal law, despite Nevada’s legalization of medical use.
In 2011, the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms sent a letter to all licensed gun dealers warning that it is illegal to sell a gun to anyone who uses or is addicted to marijuana, even for medical purposes.
Wilson claimed the denial of a firearm violated here Second Amendment rights, eq2ual protection, due process and the Fifth Amendment against self-incrimination by mandating a form that asks if she used illegal drugs.
She asked for an injunction that would bar enforcement of the federal law and damages. She appealed dismissal of her case.
“It may be argued that medical marijuana users are less likely to commit violent crimes, as they often suffer from debilitating illnesses, for which marijuana may be an effective palliative,” wrote Judge Jed Rakoff, a visiting judge from New York. “They also may be less likely than other illegal drug users to interact with law enforcement officers or make purchases through illicit channels. But those hypotheses are not sufficient to overcome Congress’s reasonable conclusion that the use of such drugs raises the risk of irrational or unpredictable behavior with which gun use should not be associated,” he concluded.
He was joined by Judges Susan Graber and Richard Tallman.
Case: Wilson v. Lynch, No. 14-15700