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Sheriff Seeks Opinion on Gun Permits for Medical Pot Users

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By Robyn Hagan Cain on July 28, 2011 3:29 PM

Oregon Sheriff Mike Winters, like the Winklevoss twins, is not one to give up on a losing case.

Winters, of Jackson County, has been arguing since 2008 that the Gun Control Act of 1968 prohibits the state from issuing concealed handgun permits to drug addicts, which he says includes medical marijuana card holders.

So far, a trial court, the Oregon Court of Appeals, and the Oregon Supreme Court have concluded that the federal law does not excuse sheriffs from issuing concealed weapons permits to people who hold medical marijuana cards and otherwise qualify. Now Winters is seeking a definitive opinion on the issue from the Supreme Court.

Jackson County and Washington County, which lost a similar case, are appealing to the Supreme Court for clarity in resolving conflicting state and federal laws, claiming that “the mounting constitutional and political tension between the states and the federal government over medical marijuana has expanded into the intersection of federal and state firearms regulation,” The Washington Post reports.

Cynthia Wills, the medical marijuana user whose concealed weapon permit application prompted the litigation, is a retired school bus driver who uses medical marijuana to deal with her arthritis pain and muscle spasms. She received her concealed handgun license after Winters lost in the Oregon Court of Appeals.

So will the Supreme Court agree to hear the case? Considering that the Court only hears about 200 of the 10,000 cases sent to it annually, FindLaw odds makers rate his chances of a high court hearing somewhere in the range of encountering a Republican in San Francisco.

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