The Department of Justice has dismissed a lawsuit calling to overturn outdated policy that deprives medical marijuana patients of their right to bear arms. In the eyes of the law, a person undergoing medical treatment through the use of marijuana has to choose between their health or their gun rights, they cannot have both. The dismissal has nothing to do with public safety, it has everything to do with illogical and contradictory cannabis policies.
The Objective Of The Lawsuit
“Feds need to catch up on marijuana” states Nicki Fried, Florida Agricultural Commissioner. It is Fried who spearheaded the federal lawsuit with the intention of protecting the constitutional rights of medical marijuana patients. While the lawsuit focuses on medical marijuana, it also highlights the discrimination present in all aspects of federal policy regarding cannabis. Fried is advocating for these inequities in federal policy to be addressed, yet the DOJ motion to dismiss is founded in extraneous and incongruous reasoning which only serves to demonstrate these very inequities.
The Frail Foundation Of The Dismissal
It is clear by now the topic at hand is about medical marijuana, but part of the DOJ dismissal is denying the evidence that medical marijuana exists. Congress states “marijuana has no currently acceptable medical use”, despite the considerable amount of research proving the medicinal properties of marijuana. Just like that, the issue at hand has been reverted to the age-old fight of marijuana legalization in general rather than the very specific circumstances of medical marijuana patients. In line with the sweeping generalization of cannabis use, the dismissal further argues medical marijuana “impairs judgment, cognition and physical coordination”. Nevermind the fact medical marijuana can have very low rates of THC or that several over-the-counter drugs mention the exact same side effects, the major issue with this argument is it is based on Florida state policy that requires doctors to inform their patients of these side-effects before prescribing medical marijuana. Rather than cite medical research, the legislature cites itself. This type of circular reasoning is what keeps the cannabis legislature from progressing, which is one of the issues Fried is addressing by filing this lawsuit.
An Easy Cop-Out
By refusing to acknowledge the role of medical marijuana in the lawsuit, the DOJ can simply revert to longstanding legislation as a crutch for the motion to dismiss. The dismissal of the lawsuit is largely grounded on historical tradition regarding firearm possession. The link between these tenets and medical marijuana patients is tenuous at best. The legislature cites anyone deemed as ‘dangerous’ should be prevented from bearing arms and “the right to bear arms was tied to the concept of virtuous citizenry”. By prohibiting medical marijuana patients the right to bear arms, the DOJ is implying medical marijuana users are unvirtuous citizens. Yet, medical marijuana is legalized in the state of Florida. The cause for dismissal is questionable on all grounds.
Fried filed the lawsuit with the intention of bolstering public safety and the callous disregard of her approach is further evidence the issue at hand is not about gun rights but really about cannabis legislation. In the 21st century you would think the DOJ would have a more modern approach than to cite historical traditions and make moral judgements on legal medical marijuana users.
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