Saturday, April 13, 2024

Hunter Biden, The Marijuana Movement, And The 2nd Amendment

Hunter Biden has been convicted  – but will it lead to a discussion about marijuana and guns?

 

Hunter Biden reached a plea agreement with federal authorities in which he will plead guilty to two misdemeanor counts of failing to pay his taxes. Prosecutors have agreed to recommend probation, while a separate gun charge will probably be dismissed if he meets conditions in a pretrial diversion program.  Federal law says if you have a marijuana conviction, you can’t have a gun, but it is being challenged in court.  Could Hunter Biden be the new face for pro-Second Amendment advocates?

The legal marijuana industry was worth $28 billion in 2022, with an expectation to rise in 2023.  Currently, 23 states have recreational and 40 have medical with over 48 million Americans consuming cannabis annually. It is becoming a big business with mainstream companies like Constellation, Miracle Grow, AmeriGas and other either investing, partnering or being a vendor to the multi-billion dollar industry.

Federal law says if you USE marijuana, you are prohibited from owning a gun.  This means if you have medical marijuana or in a legal state, you can lose your gun control rights for consuming, not selling or committing a crime, just having an edible every so often.  This includes medical marijuana.  To be clear, you can use alcohol and own a gun, you could be drinking a beer when you buy a gun.

Unfortunately for the Department of Justice (DOJ), the rule is being challenged again and again in regional courts.  Case relied on U.S. Supreme Court precedent finding any firearm restrictions must be consistent with the historical 1791 context of the Second Amendment’s ratification. Last June, the Supreme Court undid decades of lower-court jurisprudence about the Second Amendment. In New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen

Most recently, the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas has delivered a win to an El Paso resident who was convicted of separate charges for possessing and transferring a firearm in 2021 while admitting to being a cannabis consumer. Judge Cardone granted a motion for reconsideration of the case and later dismissed the charges.

RELATED: ATF Says Yes To Guns Unless, You Know, Cannabis

Second Amendment advocates while open to marijuana, have not reached a consensus on whether to support gun rights for those who use hard drugs, according to Joseph Greenlee, the director of constitutional studies at the pro-Second Amendment Firearms Policy Coalition. Greenlee, whose group argued on the plaintiff’s side in Range v. Attorney General, said his group believes that people who use marijuana shouldn’t be banned from buying guns.

A Right-Leaning Supreme Court Won't Impede Cannabis Reform, Legal Experts Say
Photo by Tingey Injury Law Firm via Unsplash

RELATED: Why Gen Z Is Putting Down The Beer And Picking Up Marijuana

Given the conflicting rulings in the lower courts, the Supreme Court may one day have to resolve the statute’s constitutionality.  Hunter Biden’s high profile and the years long discussion around the charges will, not doubt, be pulled into the discussion of the law.

how the court’s conservative majority would view the issue. Jacob Charles, a professor at Pepperdine’s Caruso School of Law who studies gun laws, said that Justice Samuel Alito could be particularly ambivalent.

“I could see him going either way,” Charles said, “obviously in favor of gun rights, but also in favor of strong law enforcement.”

Currently, the two tiered system of justice is difficult for the general population and those suffering for medical marijuana, a proven medical benefit.

 

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