Cannabis and Gun Rights: The 5th Circuit’s Landmark Decision


In a pivotal moment for both Cannabis and Gun Rights, the 5th Circuit of the U.S. Court of Appeals has made a landmark decision. This ruling, originating from the case United States v. Daniels, questions the constitutional validity of federal laws that prevent gun ownership by illegal drug users, particularly those who consume cannabis.

Historical Overview of Cannabis and Gun Rights:

Traditionally, as supported by the Supreme Court’s 2022 verdict in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen, restrictions on firearms have complied with the nation’s longstanding firearm regulation history. However, the recent decision by the 5th Circuit underscores the evolving landscape and possibly outdated nature of such laws, especially when concerning cannabis use.

The Cannabis Controversy:

At the heart of the argument is the distinction between those under the influence and clear-headed individuals. Should a previous history of drug usage, mainly marijuana, be grounds to strip an otherwise compliant citizen of their gun rights? The 5th Circuit’s response suggests otherwise, noting that traditional practices of disarming potentially dangerous people don’t automatically apply to peaceful cannabis users.

The Daniels Case and its Relation to Cannabis and Gun Rights:

Patrick Darnell Daniels Jr. was arrested in Mississippi in April 2022 when a routine traffic stop revealed both marijuana and firearms in his car. Although there was no direct evidence connecting his cannabis use to the arrest time, his habitual use was a basis to charge him under Section 922(g)(3). This rule, which put Daniels at risk of jail time, is now scrutinized for its wider repercussions.

Unpacking The Constitutionality of Cannabis and Gun Rights:

Judge Jerry E. Smith, speaking for the 5th Circuit, points out that the phrase “the people” within the Second Amendment doesn’t only refer to “law-abiding citizens”. Historical data indicates that the right to bear arms extends to the entire political community, emphasizing the intersection of Cannabis and Gun Rights.

A Historical Glimpse:

Over time, governments disarmed groups perceived as threats, like political or religious minorities. Modern cannabis users don’t match this description. Instead, a more fitting comparison might be to alcohol drinkers, who were never disarmed, posing questions about the logic behind disarming marijuana users.


In championing Cannabis and Gun Rights, the 5th Circuit’s ruling argues that excluding cannabis users from gun ownership based on vague notions of ‘dangerousness’ isn’t consistent with past firearm regulations. This verdict challenges the legal basis and fairness of Section 922(g)(3) and other similar laws, urging a re-assessment in line with current societal norms.

Share This

Copy Link to Clipboard