One out of five American citizens now lives in a state where the possession of cannabis is legal for adults. However, weed being legal doesn’t change the fact that many of your civil Rights are forfeited once you smoke that legal joint.
Civil Right To Keep And Bear Arms
If your use of marijuana is publicly known, by your registration in a medical marijuana registry, you are prohibited by federal law from possessing guns and ammo. Federally-licensed firearms Shops are forbidden to sell or transferr guns and ammo to you if they know ow your cannabis consumption.
In Oregon, county sheriffs refused to renew concealed handgun permits to registered patients, until the Oregon Supreme Court forced them to do so. In Honolulu Police Department sending letters to registered patients telling them to surrender their firearms within 30 days.
Civil Right To Have Employment
At the state level, none of the states that have both legal and medical marijuana provide any protection for employment rights in their laws. (There is a case in Massachusetts currently challenging this, with the Supreme Judicial Court affirming a woman terminated for her lawful medical marijuana use does have a legitimate cause for a civil suit.) Cases brought by medical marijuana-using plaintiffs in California, Washington, Oregon, Michigan and Colorado have all been denied relief by their state Supreme Courts.
Equal Opportunity Employment laws forbid companies from discriminating against people in hiring based on race, color, religion, national origin, sex, pregnancy, disability, age and genetic information. But they are perfectly free to discriminate against your use of marijuana.
This is the case even though legal states also recognize medical marijuana. The Americans with Disability Act doesn’t deal with herbs that aren’t federally legal, so there’s no requirement there for employers to accommodate your medical use.
The Colorado situation is particularly galling. Marijuana use is protected medically and for adults in the state constitution, rather than just statutorily like the other states. Colorado also has a “Lawful Off-Duty Activities” statute that protects against employment discrimination for legal activities employees engage in away from work.
Despite all that, employees like paraplegic call-center operator Brandon Coats can be fired for their medical marijuana use, because the Colorado Supreme Court decided that state-legal medical marijuana is still federally-illegal marijuana, so using it off-duty isn’t “lawful” under state law.
Civil Right To Parent your Child
Prohibition states are infamous for using their “crime” of marijuana use as a justification for removal of children from a family by Child Protective Services. However, legal medical or adult-use marijuana in your state is no protection for your right to parent, except in some of the newer state laws.
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