Oregon Supreme Court: Medical Cannabis Patients Have Second Amendment Rights Too

Great news today from Oregon’s Supreme Court (as compared to SCOTUS!) regarding personal responsibility and liberty in ruling for a medical cannabis patient who was denied their full Second Amendment rights simply because they use cannabis.
The case was largely championed by NORML Legal Committee member and Amicus chair Leland Berger of Portland and from legal counsel from the National Rifle Association.
Mr. Berger’s remarks are found below announcing the case today on NORML’s network. The decision can be read here.

“To conclude: the sheriffs in this case are not excused from their duty under ORS 166.291(1) to issue CHLs to qualified applicants, without regard to the applicant’s use of medical marijuana, on the ground that issuance of CHLs to medical marijuana users would violate a federal prohibition on making false statements about the lawfulness of transferring firearms to such persons. Neither are the sheriffs excused from that statutory duty on the ground that it is preempted by federal law. The sheriffs were without authority to deny petitioner’s CHL applications.”
Full text of unanimous opinion, authored by the chief, issued 77 days after oral argument online here:
Many thanks to John Lucy, who has forgotten more obscure gun law (and facts) than I ever knew, to OPDS Appellate Section for meeting with John and I pre-argument for a discussion of potential questions, to Adelia Hwang for researching federal legislative history of the federal guncontrol act and to Kristin Stankiewicz for her research assistance onother issues; to Alan Silber of Roseland NJ for developing a judicialestoppel argument and to Bill Panzer of Oakland, CA for explaining it to me.
But mostly I am grateful for the courage of medical cannabis patients Paul Sansone, Steven Schwerdt, Eli Wallick and Cynthia Willis for standing up to the lawless Sheriffs of Washington and Jackson Counties, here in Oregon.
Lee Berger, Portland, OR

Associated Press coverage of the case is found here.

37 thoughts

  1. I’d rather have a high person holding the gun than someone on alcohol, most prescription drugs, or any other illicit drug. How many times do you see people getting high and then fighting? How much violence period do you see from marijuana users? That alone should give you your answer as to if MMJ PATIENTS should be able to carry.

  2. I and the rest of the countries forfathers approve this legal outcome.
    Congratulations Washington State.

  3. Holy Smokes. A winner for true liberty. It’s about time we see through the facade of the DEA and LEA attempts to control the civilians with overwhelming power of authority. Good job Oregon. You got this one right. Now, if only the Supreme Court can see the errors of their way on warrantless searches of domiciles.
    Two days left.
    The Rev.sLeezy
    Potland, OR

  4. “If thou doest well – shall thou not be accepted?”
    Accepted??? – Frankly – “I don’t believe one f’n word government says – not one single word.” I do not accept this government – “I reject it!” I also have to say – “This is the greatest grievance I have – not believing in my own government – not having an ounce of trust in government – absolute loss of faith in elected representatives of We the People. For these reasons – I harbor this belief and follow the wisdom of our founders:
    When in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and assume among the Powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinion of mankind requires that they should declare the cause which impels them to the separation.
    In this case – the cause which impels me to the separation is:
    1. I have sworn allegiance to God and State to – defend my God and my country against all enemies foreign and domestic [emphasize domestic].
    2. Abusive Governmental Authority.
    3. Treason.
    4. Alienation of Affection
    If I kept going – the list of violations would be as long as my arm. The two grievances – equally as important as the others – but – in the order of priority are – “They fucked with my Constitution – and – they fucked with my religion.” they must give them back! They can’t have either!. I reject them and their misuse of their power! Keep their f’n nose out of my business – and – take their evil little act down the road! We the People will weed you out of “our government” – and – make no bones about it. Better go hide. 2012 – Here we come – ready or not.

  5. This news is awesome!
    Now if Oregon can manage to get MMJ dispensaries legalized, establish their publicly-owned non-profit State Bank to compete with what the Fed used to do, and de-criminalize cannabis for non-MMJ patients, they could claim the crown of State Populism.
    Some State, some where, needs to lead the way back from the brink of national security surveillance police state that “our” (actually crony corporate cabal’s) Reich-Wing Authoritarian politicians in both political parties have shoved down our throats’. I was hoping California was up to the challenge, but Oregon would do just as well …

  6. It does this old man hart good to here some good news.especially when the supreme court say it ok to enter a person home with out a search warrant.

  7. We’ve got two (2) choices:
    1. We can defend our Constitution and freedom.
    2. We can sit down, shut up, pay attention, and do what we are told.
    Which is it going to be?

  8. Representative Andy Olson (oregon)
    Re: HB 3664,
    We have Meth and Teachers with over 35-40 kids in there rooms. But THIS NOW?
    I Voted for the republic party to help them! As family line myself to Norfolk, NE. I see and hear other Oregon citizenry and we all wonder what is this waste of money going to do? You must see the issues i see here in Oregon with METH! Sir pleas foucse your issues on what makes current of today.
    After hearing testimony on May 19 for HB 3664, the current problems we have in Oregon and now this money waste. We yes US need More teachers and jobs think of the struggling family you were placed to help.
    I do not care about the law enforcement database information but what about us? As a Vet and a Father with a Autistic son and a 10 Cancer fighting wife, Is this how you want to waste our money? This is the current state of emergency Oregonians face.
    Lets get working and teaching going! Lets stop this money waste Please this is America. The waste of money for this is what it is waste.
    You think this bill will change a thing other than words. I see street use that is a epidemic of Pills & Meth. and teachers with non pay days off cutting of disabled help for kids and this is your goal this bill?
    Thank you for addressing this very important issue.
    Sincerely, Rev Joe Kersno (salem)

  9. Re: #10
    I posted a longer list of violations perpetrated by government – but – they have been rejected for posting. There’s really “only one condemning reason” to deny government its abusive authority, and remove it from a position of abusive power – and – its First Amendment violation.
    “It has severely burdened our Faith and the free exercise thereof.”
    When does one say – “Enough is enough [action instead of bitching]?” If not now – “when?” The Genesist Faith is not readily concerned with having a “Bitch Board” to air our grievances – we’re only concerned with “action” which speaks louder than words ever could. Government has alienated our affection for it. This faction of government, in its absolute arrogance, is sitting back and laughing at our loss of freedom as they chalk up another one for the prohibs. It must give them a great deal of pleasure making a “NO” stick on their shitty walls. Well! – here it is in a nut shell – “It ain’t gonna happen pilgrim!!!” Whatever you do to the least of my brethren – you do to me.”

  10. The f**king government has a patent on cannabinoids, can’t this and other legitimate references be part of a valid defense for disputing Federal marihuana in an escalating court case? We need lots of money for that huh? Money, the antithesis of money.

  11. I did not go overseas to defend my country because I knew someday they would take away my 4th amendment. This is pure bs. Stop The Drug War NOW……

  12. 23. Brandon
    YES! – The government has a patent – YES! – they do research – YES! – they dispense – and YES!- they commission Reports. You tell me what’s wrong with this picture. Who in the hell do they think they’re kidding – I mean conning. It sure isn’t me – or – anyone I can talk to. We need to pin prohibs up against the wall regardless of who is giving them payola or orders. If they want to be timid about voting for repeal to save their sorry political ass – they need to do it out of office – because – we sure aren’t going to allow them to be timid in 2012.

  13. Freedom of speech is the foundation of everything after. Squelch it if you might but realize you have betrayed your own rights in the process.

  14. They have no right to get rid of our 4th amendment! My husband was in Vietnam in 1965, and all of this, really piss him off.He fought so we would be free and this goverment, really sock it the veteren of all wars. Where is the freedom,they fought for, undermined by the US.Leglize the herb now !!

  15. Getting Organized
    When the state of Oregon relies on Federal guidance, it is a a sad day.
    I stand with the poster @10
    Another Civil War
    Locked and Loaded
    Let us get organized
    Where do you stand?

  16. When I’m yelling at you – you have little worry about. When I’m silent – you have everything to worry about.
    I’m getting more silent every day.

  17. Anyone taking bets that the liquor lobbyists have their hands down to the toes in the governments pockets?? Yep yep, I can see their fingertips out of their pant legs!

  18. Hemp (cannabis sativa) is at least as American as Mom and Apple Pie. Our first flag was most certainly made of hemp as Betsy Ross is said to have made it from old sails. Early copies of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were printed on hemp paper. Our early ships contained tons of hemp and the covered wagons that allowed migration from the East to the West coast were covered with, you guessed it, cannabis sativa or hemp. Medicines made from hemp were used for everything from menstrual cramps and babies teething to veterinary medicine. Both George Washington and Thomas Jefferson grew hemp on their plantations. George even grew Indian hemp which was known for its medicinal qualities rather than for fiber. Ben Franklin often printed on hemp paper. One historian reported that he believed that the soldiers that wintered with George Washington at Valley Forge never would have crossed the Delaware River had they not been clothed in hemp. Hemp insulates better than cotton and he proposed that many more would have died had they worn cotton that cold winter in our early history. Our early history is incomplete without mention of this valuable plant. Our forefathers certainly would have recommended another American Revolution had they envisioned that our own government would remove the rights of free citizens to grow or possess this valuable plant. Early laws in our country even required farmers to grow this valuable crop! The courts in Oregon have made a wise and reasonable decision in support of the citizens of their state. I support their actions to challenge the tyranny of our own government. When law enforcement becomes a profitable business we can expect the erosion of all our rights in order to maintain profit. Some day we will recognize that society benefits far more from building schools rather than prisons to house those who consume marijuana.

  19. So . . . how does this jive with the recent DOJ ATF letter to all federal firearms dealers? http://bit.ly/nSCvwf Of course it’s up to the person filling out the paperwork, but at what point do the dealers have to start checking the patient registration . . . and no doubt there will be a fee for that, as well as further abuses to the registry. There’s no where to hide and even if you could find a place, you damned well better not be armed when they find you there.

  20. One can find grounds for this, but let’s consider a few:. Make sure your teaching space (your home office, spare bedroom, basement, etc. The construct here creates a dimension where womanhood and childhood are one in the same, by presenting women acting in childish ways and sexualizing the imagery.

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