Friday, December 12, 2014

Guns, cannabis collide in Colorado, Montana

Still believe the Second Amendment is absolute? Think again.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (BATFE) will make sure you lose your Second Amendment rights if you admit to ingesting cannabis or even if you are a patient being treated under the care of a doctor.

From Brian Doherty's piece at Reason:
Merely having a state medical marijuana card, BATFE insists, means that you fall afoul of Sect. 922(g) of the federal criminal code (from the 1968 federal Gun Control Act), which says that anyone “who is an unlawful user of or addicted to any controlled substance” is basically barred from possessing or receiving guns or ammo (with the bogus assertion that such possession implicates interstate commerce, which courts will pretty much always claim it does). While the BATFE has not yet announced any concerted program to go after people who may have had legally purchased weapons before getting a marijuana card, Morgan Fox of the Marijuana Policy Project says that it’s common practice in medical marijuana-related busts that “if weapons are present, there will be gun charges added on as well.”
A Colorado organization wants to change the law in that state:
A pro-gun group is pushing a ballot initiative for 2015 that would allow users of marijuana to obtain a concealed handgun permit in Colorado. “Our goal is to have Colorado’s concealed handgun permit law sync with Colorado’s marijuana laws,” said Edgar Antillon, co-founder of Guns for Everyone. “Typically, pro-marijuana legislators are not pro-gun, and vice versa,” he said. “I trust the people more than I do the lawmakers.” [Durango Herald]
Representative Earl Blumenauer of Oregon, another state where cannabis has been legalized, has teamed up with Colorado congress member, Jared Polis: they have introduced legislation that would end the federal prohibition.

As tribal nations mull the Justice Department's memorandum on legal cannabis within reservation boundaries and BATFE remains free to pop anybody in Indian Country more clashes and lawsuits seem inevitable.

In a related story, the so-called 'Castle Doctrine' is being tested in a Missoula, Montana trial where a shooter, allegedly under the influence of cannabis, fatally blasted a German exchange student in the face during a 'garage-hopping' incident. Gun advocate groups have bankrolled experts to testify for the defense in the case: one has been paid $44,000 thus far.


Duffer said...

this could be a good trial to push an obvious issue: Presence of THC in a bloodstream does not mean the person was "under the influence". We all know residual amounts can linger in the body for several weeks after ingestion.

Something else experienced users know is: presence of THC in a bloodstream does not indicate as a cause for aggressive behavior. Was alcohol a factor? Psycho-social behavioral factors?

Hire a rottweiler lawyer and get after it. Right Kurtz?

larry kurtz said...

It's telling that a well-known gun advocate like Gary Marbut would throw so much cash at a trial to defend someone who fired a fatal second shot even though Kaarma is so clearly guilty.

The police are really on trial for botching evidence gathering after a detective concluded that the defendant fired the second fatal shot after adjusting his grip on the weapon.

Fascinating story, Duff: always nice to read you.