Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals Hears Case Concerning Medical Marijuana Users and the Second Amendment
As we have previously covered, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (“ATF”) and by extension the federal government remain committed to denying lawful ownership of firearms for marijuana users, even if users are in compliance with their state’s law concerning marijuana use. However, an Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals panel recently heard argument on an appeal from some Florida residents who are challenging the federal government’s bar on medical marijuana patients from owning and possessing firearms because the drug remains federally illegal. Citing their Second Amendment right to own a firearm, the Florida residents are using the language established by Bruen to argue that there is not a historical tradition of prohibiting those who participate in state sanctioned programs from owning a gun. The court seemed to press the federal government over how it could qualify these residents’ conduct as unlawful considering the legal framework that allows such programs to exist and that Congressional funding that forbids federal prosecutors from spending government funds on people compliant with any state sanctioned medical marijuana programs. The court is yet to rule on the matter but if the Florida residents are successful expect further challenges to the federal government’s prohibition by similarly positioned individuals who will seek to have their Second Amendment rights restored or prospectively seek permission to purchase, possess and even conceal and carry a firearm.