Jackson County Sheriff Mike Winters Continues His Wasteful Tirade Against The Oregon Medical Marijuana Program
By Damian Mann
Jackson County Sheriff Mike Winters appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court Tuesday in his latest bid to block the issuance of a concealed handgun license to a Gold Hill medical marijuana patient.
Winters has asserted that he can't issue the license because it would violate federal law, specifically the Gun Control Act of 1968.
The sheriff's legal argument has been shot down by the Jackson County Circuit Court, the Oregon Court of Appeals and the Oregon Supreme Court. The courts ruled the state statute governing concealed handgun licenses doesn't pre-empt federal law.
"I was hoping that it was over, but apparently it is not," said Cynthia Willis, the medical marijuana patient who now has a concealed handgun license after the sheriff lost in the Court of Appeals. "I'm just so surprised that there would be a further use of tax dollars in this way."
So far, Winters' case has cost the county $13,000 in outside legal fees plus the equivalent of $20,000 in hours spent by the county's internal legal team.
Willis, who uses cannabis for muscle spasms and arthritis pain, admitted to using medical marijuana when she filed her application with the sheriff for a concealed handgun license in 2008.
The Oregon Supreme Court determined that under the rules of Oregon Revised Statute 166.291, Willis, who has a clean criminal record, should receive a concealed handgun license.
Washington County, which lost a similar concealed handgun and medical marijuana case, also has decided to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.
The Jackson County petition filed with the high court by the county's attorney, Ryan Kirchoff, makes a point of pressing for clarity in resolving conflicting laws.
"As this case demonstrates, 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 petition states.
State law versus federal law is an issue that the U.S. Supreme Court frequently debates, but the likelihood a case will actually be taken under review is slim.
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