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Federal Judge Rules: Prohibiting Marijuana Users From Owning Firearms Is Unconstitutional

Jared Michael Harrison was arrested in Lawton, Oklahoma, in May 2022 following a traffic stop. During a search of his car, the police found a loaded revolver and marijuana. While OK state law allows the use of medical marijuana, Harrison did not have a state-issued medical marijuana card.

In August, 2022, Harrison was charged with violation of federal law prohibiting “unlawful users or addicts of controlled substances” from possessing firearms.

The public defender for Harrison argued that in light of the U.S. Supreme Court ruling last year in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen, the prohibition “was not consistent with the nation's historical tradition of firearm regulation.”

Federal prosecutors argued in defense of the law that it “is consistent with a long-standing historical tradition in America of disarming suspected high-risk individuals, namely felons, the insane, and the intoxicated.”

On Friday, U.S. District Judge Patrick Wyrick in Oklahoma City agreed with Harrison’s attorneys and dismissed the indictment against him.

Wyrick, a Trump-appointed judge, said in his ruling: “the mere use of marijuana bears none of the attributes that support the nation’s history and tradition in regulating firearms,”

Under federal law, marijuana has been a Schedule I drug since the Controlled Substances Act was passed in 1970. While legal for medical use in 39 states and recreational use in 21 states, it is still illegal at the federal level.

The Department Of Justice has not commented on the ruling but is expected to appeal the decision.  

While this ruling is another step forward for gun rights, it should be noted that the ruling has no immediate impact outside of the case it was issued for. 

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