The Second Amendment Foundation filed its lawsuit this week in a Pennsylvania federal court. The group is joined by Warren County, Pennsylvania District Attorney Robert Greene, who has served in that office since 2013 and currently possesses a medical marijuana ID card under Pennsylvania law.
“Greene desires and intends to lawfully purchase, possess, and utilize firearms and ammunition so that he may exercise his constitutional right to keep and bear arms for self-defense and all other lawful purposes,” the lawsuit stated.
“However [the U.S. government is] precluding Greene from purchasing and possessing a firearm and/or ammunition, which criminalizes Greene’s desired conduct under pain of criminal prosecution and incarceration for a period of up to 10 years and a fine of up to $250,000.”
The lawsuit also recounted the long history of cannabis in the United States, starting with the fact that it was cultivated by numerous Founding Fathers, including including George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Benjamin Franklin.
“Washington’s diaries indicated he grew hemp at Mount Vernon for about 30 years and that he may have had a particular interest in the medicinal use of Cannabis,” the lawsuit said.
It was not until in 1961 when Congress took action to bar non-violent felons from possessing firearms. About seven years later, Congress amended the law again to expressly prohibit the possession of firearms and ammunition by individuals who were “an unlawful user of or addicted to marihuana,” according to the lawsuit.
The Second Amendment Foundation said in a press release that it’s pursuing this lawsuit because medical marijuana users shouldn’t have to forfeit their right to own firearms.
“Medicinal marijuana has been adopted by 38 states despite federal inaction on the issue,” said the group’s director, Adam Kraut, who is also a practicing attorney in Pennsylvania.
“With the increasing acceptance of medical cannabis, millions of Americans are forced to choose between the exercise of their Second Amendment rights or treating their symptoms with a substance that disenfranchises them from their constitutionally guaranteed right to keep and bear arms. Such a choice is incompatible with the constitution and finds no basis in this country’s history and tradition,” he said.
Ken Silva is a staff writer at Headline USA. Follow him at twitter.com/jd_cashless.