Despite the movement toward the legalization of marijuana, the federal government isn’t ready to relax gun and firearm restrictions for those who choose to use this narcotic even for medical purposes. Many view it as gateway drug and disagree with recent legislation aimed at its legalization despite the claim that it is therapeutic and useful for the treatment and pain management of certain conditions and illness
While Pennsylvania (read my article) and New Jersey will legalize medical marijuana in 2018 (New Jersey is actually legalizing all forms), It’s important to understand that Federal Government still treats it as Schedule I Controlled Substance with no accepted medical purpose. Federal law prohibits an “unlawful user” of any controlled substance from possessing firearms, and under federal law. Notice the federal government still considers medical marijuana “patients” as “unlawful users” despite what individual states are doing to legalize the drug
Given this restriction, the person who chooses to use medical marijuana in Pennsylvania or New Jersey is prohibited from a possessing a gun or firearm under federal law. Consider the current reasoning of the federal court where this restriction was challenged. It its opinion, the 9th Circuit Court upheld the federal prohibition of gun sales to users of medical marijuana and specifically stated the following
“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. 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.”
I plan on addressing this topic with a much more in depth article later this week but for now, keep in mind that there is really no way around this issue at the moment. In addition to defending crimes involving illegal drugs and narcotics, a large of our law firm’s criminal defense practice is devoted the defense of illegally possessed guns in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and its surrounding counties (Uniform Firearms Act) and Southern New Jersey (Graves Act).
Remember that even though Pennsylvania, unlike New Jersey, doesn’t have mandatory minimum state prison sentences for criminal offenses involving the illegal possession of gun and firearms, most gun charges are felony offenses and not misdemeanors. Look for my article on this important topic later this week! I wish you and your family a Happy New Year and look forward to providing more great content through my Blog for my readers in 2018!