Laws pit medical marijuana against guns

FORT MYERS, Fla. — It’s Amendment 2 versus the Second Amendment.

The passage of Florida Constitutional Amendment 2 in November opened the door to widespread use of medical marijuana in the state, but a September federal court ruling bars users of the drug from purchasing guns. That leaves patients like Fort Myers resident Lester Libby, who suffers from chronic pain, in a tough spot.

It’s either give up his right to buy weapons or close off a way to ease his pain.

“I would rather protect myself and have my weapon,” Libby said.

The ruling stems from the case of a gun store owner who refused to sell a handgun to a Nevada woman in 2011 because she had a medical marijuana prescription card. The woman said she obtained the card only to make a political statement and didn’t use the drug, but the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled against her.

Federal law bars gun purchases by an addict of any controlled substance. That applies to marijuana, which is still illegal on the federal level even though several states have legalized it for medical and recreational use.

Fort Myers attorney Lance Dunford believes the ruling opens a pandora’s box of sorts. If users of other prescription pain medications can buy guns, Dunford wonders why medical marijuana users can’t.

“So, it seems that marijuana is kind of being pigeonholed here,” Dunford said.

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