Marijuana users not fit for guns?
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The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled on Aug. 31 that cannabis users cannot possess or own firearms because it makes them subject to “irrational and unpredictable behavior.”
Marijuana is still a Schedule I drug and is therefore deemed to have no medicinal use. This allows the court to label cannabis users as drug addicts.
Drug addicts cannot buy guns under federal law.
The United States V. Carter case established the link between drug use and violence in 2014. The case states that people, prisoners or those on probation who committed violent felonies were more likely to have used drugs or been addicted to drugs beforehand.
The court argued that correlation vs. causation doesn’t matter; a simple link between drug use and violence is enough to prohibit marijuana users from owning a gun.
Selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors, a commonly prescribed anti-depressant, are 10 times more likely to be linked to violence than other drugs, Time magazine reports.
People suffering from depression can buy guns.
The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse states that 86 percent of murderers were drinking at the time of the crime.
People who drink alcohol are still allowed to buy guns.
“I think the big misconception is alcohol isn’t a drug, when it completely is,” said Ryan Bean, owner of The Firehouse smoke shop.
Bean said he believes alcohol is one of the most addictive and harmful substances there is. Over 88,000 people died of alcohol-related incidents last year. Zero people died from marijuana-related overdoses last year, according to the Center for Disease Control.
“You’re buying it for the sole purpose of what the effect is. It is, by definition, a drug,” said Tucker Reiley, a personal trainer and food science and nutrition major.
Reiley said he believes we need to change our idea of what drugs are.
“Everyone is on drugs, whether they like to admit it or not,” they are just chemicals humans take to have a desired effect, Reiley said.
Caffeine and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen or aspirin are culturally accepted for daily use. Prescribed drugs like opiates and antidepressants are used in situations when the benefits outweigh the risks.
Bean said he thinks the substance in question is a moot point.
“Ultimately you’re responsible for that decision regardless of what substances you’re on,” he said.
The discrepancy between punishing cannabis users and alcohol users is questionable. Drug policy researchers show marijuana can reduce violent tendencies in some people while alcohol is linked to every violent crime on the spectrum.
Mike Graham owns Natural Mystic Farms, located just outside of Ellensburg. He said this is nothing more than federal agencies using their power to discriminate against cannabis users.
“People that work for the government are public servants. They need to serve the people, not use their positions for personal preferences. It’s ridiculous,” Graham said.
Since Colorado and Washington started selling recreational weed in 2014, painkiller use has dropped substantially. The New York Times reports annual overdoses due to prescription opioids are down by 25 percent in states with medical or recreational cannabis laws.