Warren DA Greene, as Private Citizen, Sues US Government Firearm Restriction Due to Medical Marijuana ID

January 23, 2024

ERIE, Pa. –  Rob Greene, who is the Warren County District Attorney, has filed a federal lawsuit as a private citizen along with the Second Amendment Foundation (SAF), against the U.S. Government over his inability to procure and carry firearms after Greene obtained a medical marijuana card.

The lawsuit, filed in federal district court in Erie on Tuesday against the United States of America, Attorney General Merrick Garland, FBI Director Christopher Wray,  and ATF Director Steven Dettelbach, claims that Greene’s and other SAF members’ Second Amendment rights are violated by applying 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(3) to medical marijuana ID card holders.

“The current restrictions found in 18 U.S.C. §§ 922(g)(3), (d)(3), and their implementing regulations, as they pertain to medicinal marijuana, infringe upon the individual’s right to keep and bear arms, as they arbitrarily deny entire classes of persons in direct defiance of (Supreme Court rulings) in Heller and Bruen and lack any direct or analogous historical support deeply rooted in this nation’s history and tradition,” the suit claims.

In District of Columbia vs. Heller, the Supreme Court endorsed the so-called “individual-right” theory of the Second Amendment’s meaning and rejected a rival interpretation, the “collective-right” theory, according to which the amendment protects a collective right of states to maintain militias or an individual right to keep and bear arms in connection with service in a militia, according to an entry on the case Brittanica.com.

In New  York State Rifle and Pistol Association vs. Bruen, the Supreme Court overturned a New York state gun safety law that required a license to carry concealed weapons in public places saying the law was unconstitutional, according to the League of Women Voters.

18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(3) provides, “It shall be unlawful for any person… who is an unlawful user of or addicted to any controlled substance (as defined in section 102 of the Controlled Substances Act (21 U.S.C. 802))… to ship or transport in interstate or foreign commerce, or possess in or affecting commerce, any firearm or ammunition; or to receive any firearm or ammunition which has been shipped or transported in interstate or foreign commerce.”

The suit claims Greene and SAF members are prohibited from purchasing firearms or ammunition due to their desire to use medical marijuana and that there is “no historical tradition of categorically banning individuals from keeping and bearing arms due to their use of a medicinal substance.”

Greene and the SAF ask the court to declare that 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(3), and similar laws, policies, and regulations “as-applied to Plaintiff Greene and SAF’s similarly situated members violate their right to keep and bear arms as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution.”

During Greene’s Jan. 13 appearance on Your Daily Local’s Coffee & a Conversation presented by White Cane Coffee, he expressed frustration over having his Second Amendment rights limited due to obtaining the medical marijuana ID card.

“Obviously, I’m gonna be fighting to get my concealed carry permit back because my concealed carry permit was taken, because ‘Oh, my God, I use legal marijuana that came with a medical marijuana card,’” Greene said during the show. “If I have a medical marijuana card, I’ve got a hand over my concealed carry.”

See the full episode:

One of the reasons Greene said he hadn’t, to that date, filed a lawsuit to recover his concealed carry permit was the potential for retribution.

“When I’ve talked to attorneys about, you know, pursuing litigation, to restore my Second Amendment rights, and the Second Amendment rights of the million-plus medical marijuana cardholders in Pennsylvania, who also have lost their firearms rights, they’ve made sure to let me know there’s a chance the feds are gonna come knocking on your door,” Greene said during the show. “Because you would basically be a lightning rod to the federal government saying, Hey, you’ve admitted that you have a medical marijuana card, you’ve admitted that you have firearms by having a concealed carry permit, right, we’re gonna come knock on the door, and I could spend 15 years in jail in federal prison for having medical marijuana. How ridiculous. I mean, it makes no sense.”

In a Dec. 28, 2023 announcement that he would not seek a fourth term as DA, Greene admitted to having used cannabis “most of my adult life,” and expressed a desire to join the “front line” of marijuana legalization.

“I have never, nor would I, drive or make legal decisions affecting people’s lives when I was incapable of doing so due to cannabis use,” Greene said in the letter. “I use cannabis responsibly and have not been shy about my advocacy for legalizing marijuana which has been used by humans for over 5,000 years for medicine, religion, and recreation.

“Freedom isn’t free and it is time for me to join the front line,” Greene said. “I readily admit I am in violation of draconian Cannabis Federal Law (which answers to Big Pharma$$$) and as a result, some government officials advocate that I should, inter alia; lose my Second Amendment Rights, lose my PA Driving Privileges and possibly be arrested. I respectfully disagree.”

The suit has been assigned to Judge Cathy Bissoon. See the full filing here.

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