DOJ steps back on marijuana lawsuit after Bruen

AP Photo/Hans Pennink

Florida Ag Commissioner Nikki Fried is no friend of gun owners, but she does support marijuana legalization. That’s why she filed a lawsuit against the United States government that would, if successful, benefit gun owners who also want to use marijuana for whatever reasons should it be lawful in their states.

Whatever her reason, I’m glad to see it.

Yet there we also knew the Department of Justice would fight against the lawsuit, and that was most definitely the plan.

However, that plan is now on hold in the wake of NYSRPA v. Bruen.

In light of a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling on gun rights, the Justice Department has asked for more time to respond to a lawsuit challenging the federal ban on medical marijuana patients purchasing and possessing firearms.

That suit, which was brought about by Florida Agriculture Commissioner and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Nikki Fried, along with a handful of other plaintiffs, argues that federal policy barring people who admit to using cannabis in compliance with state laws is unconstitutional. DOJ was initially due to file its respond to the suit last week, but a Supreme Court ruling in a New York case has led the Biden administration to request an extension in the deadline for its filing in cannabis dispute, and the plaintiffs have agreed.

An attorney for the plaintiffs told Marijuana Moment that they are also aware of possible implications of the new Supreme Court ruling on their case, and that they intend to file an amended complaint in light of that. That’s part of the reasoning behind their decision not to contest DOJ’s deadline extension request.

Now, I never really thought about it, but based on the Bruen opinion, the laws prohibiting a lawful marijuana user from possessing a firearm may well not hold up to challenge.

After all, Bruen lays out a “text and history” approach to the Second Amendment, and I’m unaware of any history or text from when the Second Amendment was laid out that would support prohibiting people following state law from being able to own a gun.

Obviously, such a case would need to be laid out in court, though, which is part of what the Department of Justice is likely looking to do. They simply need to find evidence and prepare themselves for the post-Bruen environment.

Or, they may decide they can’t defend the law as it stands, which would be even better from a Second Amendment standpoint.

Either way, this is pretty good evidence that the Bruen decision may have a small impact on the law challenged in court, but it may be potentially huge for the Second Amendment going forward. Frankly, the judicial environment for gun cases over the next few years should be rather interesting to behold.

Bruen may impact law-abiding marijuana users and millions of other Americans. In fact, I expect a lot of laws will now get challenged specifically because of Bruen.

Like I said, it’s going to be interesting, to say the least.