From Gun Bans To Driving Limits: The International War On The Rights Of Medical Cannabis Users
In the United States, the Biden Administration is in favour of banning gun ownership for medical users. In Germany, there is an ongoing debate about driving limits. Such policies rely on outdated criteria to penalize cannabis users
The push to fully and federally legalize cannabis in places like the US and Germany right now is leading to some very unfortunate (and certainly rights-infringing) regulations.
In the US, as various cannabis bills languish in both the House and Senate, and Brittney Griner cools her heels in a Russian prison for possession of less than one gram of cannabis oil, the Biden Administration is (shamefully) defending a federal gun ownership ban for medical cannabis users. The issue is now front and centre in a legal battle launched by Florida agricultural commissioner Nikki Fried (a Democrat) to challenge the same. Fried is running as a Democratic challenger to the sitting Republican governor, Ron DeSantis.
No matter how one feels about gun control, the idea of punishing a sick person who takes a certain kind of medication (which could be any medication, beyond cannabis) is highly worrying. Not to mention represents grotesque discrimination against those with disabilities requiring medication.
In Germany, with a federal government now in the process of figuring out how to craft legislation for the full legalization of cannabis, one of the most controversial aspects of the same is setting drugged driving limits. Currently, drivers are charged with drugged driving if they are caught with even one nanogram of THC in their bloodstream – the smallest measurable amount possible. Both ADAC, the German version of AAA, and the working group of Traffic Court Day, an annual and highly influential congress that recommends new driving regulations to the government, are in support of the smallest limit possible.
That said, there is beginning to be a debate here about how problematic that is for medical users – particularly as they have a continual THC presence in their blood, even if not “high.” Beyond these heavier users of course, even a light recreational user can show traces of cannabinoids in their blood up to 60 days after their last joint. While nobody wants stoned drivers on the speed limit-free Autobahn, there needs to be some kind of compromise – not to mention some kind of technology deployment to the police – which can differentiate between recent enough use to impair driving and a THC blood level that shows constant use.
No matter where this kind of debate is taking place, however, it is clear that such questions have never been answered – and any new regulations are likely to be controversial enough to end up in court. Legislators are unlikely to be able to figure this out on their own.