DOJ compares marijuana users to domestic abusers with filing in cannabis patients’ gun rights lawsuit
The Justice Department is doubling down on its claim that medical marijuana patients are uniquely dangerous and, therefore, unfit to possess firearms—and it’s now comparing cannabis consumers to domestic abusers with a “propensity” toward violence.
In a new court filing, DOJ responded to a lawsuit from Florida’s agriculture commissioner, who is alleging that federal policy barring medical cannabis patients from the right to own firearms is unconstitutional. The department disputed a series of claims made by the plaintiffs and is requesting that the court dismiss the case or issue a summary judgement.
Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried first filed the suit in April, alongside patients who were denied firearms because they use medical marijuana in compliance with Florida law. The challenge was later revised to account for a recent Supreme Court ruling in New York that created new standards for state gun restrictions.
DOJ’s initial request for the lawsuit to be dismissed took some by surprise, as the department cited historical case law to support the cannabis ban that drew parallels between medical cannabis patients and people who are mentally ill, panhandlers, Catholics and other groups that were previously deprived of the right to possess firearms.
The department seemed to partially back off its prior assertions that cannabis makes people more inclined toward violent crime in general, but it did say that those who consume marijuana are intrinsically too dangerous to own guns because they’re breaking federal law, even if it’s a misdemeanor offense.
“Marijuana users also engage in criminal activity that renders firearms possession dangerous, albeit for different reasons (i.e., the propensity for violence for domestic violence misdemeanants, and the impairing effects of marijuana for marijuana users),” the filing says.
DOJ is essentially drawing a connection between non-violent cannabis offenses and domestic abusers to make a legal point about being justified in disarming people who commit misdemeanors. But the choice to make that specific comparison has raised eyebrows.
For what it’s worth, there are several studies that have identified an association between cannabis legalization and decreased incidents of domestic violence. Meanwhile, studies have found consistent links between the federally legal drug alcohol and domestic violence.
Published: September 27, 2022
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