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If there is anything government can do with remarkable efficiency, it’s deprive people of their rights. The federal war on drugs has provided a pretext for decades, and it does not appear to be letting up.

In a 3-0 decision, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reaffirmed the government’s ban on pot users purchasing firearms, saying the ban does not violate the 2nd Amendment. In the nine Western states under the court’s jurisdiction, medical cannabis patients do not have the right to buy a gun.

People there are supposed to choose between treating their medical condition and procuring a means of self-defense.

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The ruling stems from a lawsuit brought by S. Rowan Wilson of Nevada, who in 2011 attempted to buy a gun but was rejected due to having a medical cannabis card.

The fact that someone has a state-approved medical cannabis card has no bearing on the federal government’s position, which is still mired in a primitive state of prohibition and a mind-boggling denial of science. According to the SF Chronicle:

Marijuana remains illegal under federal law.

Wilson said she was not a marijuana user, but obtained the card in part as an expression of support for marijuana legalization.

She challenged guidance issued by the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives in 2011 that said gun sellers should assume people with medical marijuana cards use the drug and not sell them firearms.

The 9th Circuit in its 3-0 decision said it was reasonable for federal regulators to assume a medical marijuana card holder was more likely to use the drug.

The court also said Congress had reasonably concluded that marijuana and other drug use “raises the risk of irrational or unpredictable behavior with which gun use should not be associated.

Even more preposterous than government’s belief that it can control who is ‘associated with gun use,’ is the belief that pot users are considered more dangerous and unpredictable.

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These self-appointed experts on human behavior should consider a recent study that found cannabis tends to make one peaceful, while alcohol – a legal drug – fuels aggression.

But the feds don’t care about alcohol and don’t bother subjecting it to the Controlled Substances Act, leaving it to the states to regulate. Of course, alcohol kills people at a far higher rate than most other drugs, except for opioid painkillers which are currently causing an overdose epidemic – and, by the way, are also legal.

Only “illegal” drug users are to be denied gun rights, according to the enlightened ones.

“It is beyond dispute that illegal drug users, including marijuana users, are likely as a consequence of that use to experience altered or impaired mental states that affect their judgment and that can lead to irrational or unpredictable behavior,” the court said in a 3-0 ruling. It was written by Jed Rakoff, a federal judge form New York temporarily assigned to the appeals panel.

Although medical-marijuana users may be less violence-prone than other drug users, Rakoff said, the courts have endorsed the government’s conclusion that “illegal drug users, including marijuana users, are more likely to be involved in violent crimes.”

So, even though everyone knows a pothead is not likely to grab a gun and kill someone for no reason, the court must adhere to a completely baseless categorization.

Charles Rainey, Wilson’s attorney, has strong words for the ATF policy that brought about the court’s outlandish ruling.

This is a nonsense policy that really was not aimed at restricting violent people from buying guns, but was aimed strictly at quelling a political movement,” said Rainey.

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Once again we see a federal agency run amok, issuing policies based on false tenets that deprive millions of basic rights. Same with the DEA, which weeks ago decided to maintain the Schedule 1 classification for cannabis, despite an overwhelming body of scientific evidence and real-world examples of its potent medical value.

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Justin Gardner is a peaceful free-thinker with a background in the biological sciences. He is interested in bringing rationality back into the national discourse, and independent journalism as a challenge to the status quo.