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U.S. Appeals Court Debates Gun Rights for Medical Marijuana Users

Deliberations echo federal regulation key to Hunter Biden’s criminal case.




U.S. appeals court judges are currently examining a pressing issue: whether individuals using medical marijuana can legally own firearms. The debate brings into focus a federal regulation also pivotal to a criminal case involving Hunter Biden.

At the heart of the matter, Florida residents approached the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to challenge the federal prohibition, asserting it to be unconstitutional for them. Using a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision as a foundation, William Hall, representing the plaintiffs, contended that the existing law violated Second Amendment rights, reports Reuters. The central argument is whether denying gun rights to state-approved medical marijuana users is at odds with the historical ethos of firearm regulation.

While cannabis’s federal status remains illegal, the U.S. Department of Justice is bound by directives that prevent interference with state-governed medical marijuana programs. Offering a different perspective, Steven Hazel of the Justice Department compared the gun ban to historical measures that prohibited mentally ill individuals and alcoholics from possessing firearms.

Key to the debate is distinguishing between current intoxication and past drug usage. Given a conflicting verdict by the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, the 11th Circuit’s upcoming decision gains increased importance, especially considering its potential ramifications for cases like Biden’s.

The case is Florida Commissioner of Agriculture, et al, v. U.S. Attorney General, et al, 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, No. 22-13893.




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