Medical Marijuana Patient Fights To Restore Gun Rights

AP Photo/Carlos Osorio File

Medical marijuana is legal in several states. People can obtain it and use it and not worry about the cops busting down their door. They’re complying with local and state laws, after all.

However, marijuana is still illegal at a federal level. This can create some…complications.

One Minnesota medical marijuana patient is trying to deal with one of those complications right now. In particular, he’s trying to get his right to keep and bear arms restored.

Patrick McClellan was on the front lines in the fight to make medical cannabis legal in Minnesota. He was one of the first to be issued a medical card to use marijuana. He says it helps him live with a rare form of muscular dystrophy.

McClellan is fighting mad. After years of fighting for Minnesota to legalize medical cannabis, he was surprised to learn his effort made it illegal for him to own a gun.

“When I wanted to sign up for the class, the instructor told me that I could not take the class when I revealed I’m a medical cannabis patient,” McClellan said.

Federal law prohibits any person who is an unlawful user of or addicted to any controlled substance from shipping, transporting, receiving or possessing firearms or ammunition. Marijuana is listed in the Controlled Substance Act as a Schedule I controlled substance, and there is no exception in federal law when used for medical purposes.

I’m sympathetic, but I also have to point out that the prohibition isn’t anything new. It’s been there for a while, and there’s been a number of other cases where people had their Second Amendment rights taken when they took on the role of medical marijuana patient.

However, the effort now appears to be something that would make a difference and not just for McClellan but medical marijuana patients throughout the nation.

They’re hoping to get marijuana downgraded from a Schedule I controlled substance–which means it has no legal medical use–to a Schedule II. As a Schedule II, it would technically be legal to be prescribed at the federal level, even if individual states still ban it. That would mean patients in states that have legalized it would then be able to maintain their Second Amendment rights.

This solves a ton of issues, especially for people in rabidly anti-gun states who love to use this as a pretext for gun confiscation. It will rob those states of their pretext, which is enough reason alone to want to see this change made.

Medical marijuana patients are obeying the laws of their communities but are being denied their constitutionally-protected rights. While few support the idea of drug addicts buying guns, the laws designed to prevent this are also keeping law-abiding citizens–and they are–from exercising their right to keep and bear arms.

That needs to change. I get the law, and I get the court rulings upholding governments acting against medical marijuana patients, but this is getting ridiculous.