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Federal Appeals Court Rules Ban Preventing Cannabis Users Possessing Guns Is Unconstitutional 

The federal prohibition of cannabis users possessing firearms has been dealt its most significant blow this week, as a three-judge panel ruled it was not consistent with the Second Amendment.

On Wednesday (August 09) the US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit ruled to overturn a conviction of a man sentenced to nearly four years in prison for possession of a firearm after admitting to occasional cannabis consumption.

The government’s attempts to argue that the cannabis gun ban was consistent with the historical context of the original 1791 ratification fell short, according to the judges.

“In short, our history and tradition may support some limits on an intoxicated person’s right to carry a weapon, but it does not justify disarming a sober citizen based exclusively on his past drug usage,” US Circuit Judge Jerry Smith said.

READ MORE: New York is Biggest Global Cannabis Consumer at 62.3 Tonnes Per Year

“Nor do more generalised traditions of disarming dangerous persons support this restriction on nonviolent drug users.”

It added that the ‘founding generation would have had no occasion to consider the relationship between firearms and intoxication via cannabis’, despite their familiarity with hemp which was widely cultivated to make rope.

Attempts to argue that the ban is congruent with Congress’ ability to disarm ‘dangerous’ people, and that regular cannabis use could be linked to firearm bans for the mentally ill were also dismissed by the judges, Marijuana Moment reported. 

The ruling marked the latest in a string of successful challenges to the ban. However, despite the numerous rulings that it is unconstitutional, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) maintains the ban is unambiguous and enforceable, including in states where marijuana has been legalised.

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