Tuesday, October 19, 2021
Full policy brief version of "Blowing Smoke at the Second Amendment"
Regular readers are familiar with my regular posts highlighting papers from the on-going series of student papers supported by the Drug Enforcement and Policy Center. I am excited to now be able to highlight a partnership with the Reason Foundation to turn some of these DEPC student papers into extended policy briefs. Ohio State College of Law alum Helen Sudhoff has this first full policy brief completed under the title "Blowing Smoke at the Second Amendment," which highlights constitutional problems with federal law prohibiting medical marijuana users from possessing firearms. Here is the brief's introduction:
The federal government prohibits users of Schedule I drugs from purchasing or possessing a firearm. Despite that most states have enacted legal medical marijuana programs, marijuana is still federally illegal and designated as a Schedule I substance with no medical value. Individuals who use medical marijuana in accordance with their state’s licensed programs are nevertheless prohibited from purchasing or possessing a firearm under federal law. As such, the onus is placed on medical marijuana patients to either disclose their marijuana use, which disqualifies themselves from purchasing a firearm and requires they relinquish possession of all firearms, or misrepresent their status as a marijuana user, risking fines or imprisonment. The following discussion will address the problems inherent in the federal government’s current regulatory framework for the right to keep and bear arms in the context of medical marijuana use, circumstances that implicate the privilege against self-incrimination, and how to revise the regulatory framework in accordance with the guarantees of the Constitution.