Another United States federal court has delivered a win for cannabis consumers’ gun rights. Judge Kathleen Cardone of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas ruled in favor of the defendant, Paola Connelly.

In 2021, police convicted the El Paso resident of separate charges for possessing cannabis and transferring a firearm.

The court said that “any historical tradition of disarming ‘unlawful’ individuals does not support disarming Connelly for her alleged marijuana use.”

The Republican-appointed judge called the Justice Department’s case “unvirtuous.”

Details of the Case

Another Win for Cannabis Gun Rights

Several factors went into this win for cannabis gun rights. Namely, a recent ruling in the U.S. Court of Appeals. That case, which we covered here, relied on a Supreme Court precedent.

The precedent says that firearm restrictions must be consistent with the historical context of the Second Amendment’s 1791 ratification.

The Department of Justice (DOJ) attempted to do this by conflating intoxication from alcohol as equivalent to simple possession of cannabis flower.

Judge Cardone cited Biden’s pardon of federal cannabis possession offences as an influence. Her ruling states that Biden’s presidential pardon would have expunged Connelly’s conviction for simple possession.

Of course, Biden’s pardons helped no one. But, as a symbolic gesture, it now has real-life consequences.

The DOJ tried to argue that they didn’t just charge Connelly with possession. She admitted to using cannabis.

But Judge Cardone was having none of it. The law that says you must choose between your cannabis and your guns “deviates from our Nations’ history of firearm regulation.”

The court ruling challenged the DOJ’s position that cannabis consumers were inherently “dangerous.” Noting that over twenty states have legalized recreational cannabis and “millions of U.S. citizens regularly use the substance.”

“It strains credulity to believe that taking part in such a widespread practice can render an individual so dangerous or untrustworthy that they must be stripped of their Second Amendment rights,” Cardone said.

Another Win for Cannabis Gun Rights

win cannabis gun rights

U.S. v. Connelly is indeed another win for cannabis consumers’ gun rights. And nowhere is this clearer than in the court ruling:

“The law’s broad prohibition on the sale or transfer of firearms to unlawful users of controlled substances burdens the Second Amendment rights of those individuals… our Nation’s historical tradition of firearm regulation does not support placing such a burden on the Second Amendment right.”

Hopefully, this is a sign of things to come.

In Arkansas, legislators are asking the governor to clarify whether medical cannabis patients can obtain concealed carry licenses.

And in Pennsylvania, a Republican senator wants the state to remove laws barring gun ownership for cannabis consumers, especially medical patients.

In Maryland, a House committee heard a bill to protect the gun rights of medical cannabis patients.

And in Florida, before a federal appeals court is a case challenging the constitutionality of banning medical cannabis patients from owning firearms.

Ten years ago, only a couple of states had legalized recreational cannabis. Medical cannabis was unheard of in the red southern states.

Look at how much has changed. Where will cannabis and gun rights be in ten years?

And for my fellow stoners who may scoff at the very idea anyone would ever need a gun, allow me to quote the great Thomas Sowell:

The gun-control crusade today is like the Prohibition crusade 100 years ago. It is a shared zealotry that binds the self-righteous know-it-alls in a warm fellowship of those who see themselves as fighting on the side of the angels against the forces of evil. It is a lofty role that they are not about to give up for anything so mundane as facts – or even the lives of other people.

Cannabis prohibition didn’t put a dent in cannabis consumption. There’s no reason to believe government-run gun control works any better. 

All you’re doing is disarming law-abiding citizens.