The legalization of medical marijuana has stirred up some more controversy-can a person carry a medical marijuana license and have a concealed pistol permit? This question has been presented in states that legalize the use of medical marijuana and permit concealed pistol permit of a handgun.
In Oregon, the state court held that a medical marijuana user can also carry a concealed handgun. However, this holding is pending appeal by the Sheriff’s department to the Oregon Supreme Court. The Sheriff’s department says that a medical marijuana user is in violation of federal law when they carry a concealed handgun. They argue that the 1968 U.S. Gun Control Act prohibits selling firearms to drug addicts, including medical marijuana cardholders, so they cannot give a permit to carry a gun to someone who is prohibited from buying or owning a gun.
Cynthia Willis, a plaintiff in the 3-plaintiff lawsuit says, “Under the medical marijuana law, I am supposed to be treated as any other citizen in this state.” The Sherriff’s department took Willis’s concealed carry permit away after she received her medical marijuana card.
However, critics argue that mixing drugs and firearms can lead to safety problems and increased crime. Further, the Sherriff’s department argues that in many cases the recent legalization of medical marijuana is being used to cover up criminal activity. They recognize that the abuse and misuse of the laws is not in every case, but it is an often occurrence.
Until the Oregon Supreme Court rules on this issue, the constitutional clash will continue. It is likely that Oregon’s ruling may eventually end up in the Supreme Court. Until then, those with with both licenses-medical marijuana and concealed carry-stand in the middle of this controversial constitutional clash.