Do cannabis and guns go well together? Nikki Fried, Florida’s only statewide Democrat and commissioner of agriculture, thinks so. She is suing the Biden administration over a federal rule that bans medical cannabis patients from owning concealed weapons.
Filed last Wednesday against the US Department of Justice and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF), the lawsuit argues that the government’s “irrational, inconsistent, and incoherent federal marijuana policy undermines Florida’s medical marijuana and firearms laws.”
In other words, Florida’s medical cannabis patients are having to choose between their liberty and their health. Something almost every medicinal cannabis community has experienced. Whether it’s the Canadian government trying to destroy private gardens or the Biden Administration making patients choose between cannabis and guns.
The ATF Form
The ATF form given to potential gun buyers asks if you are “an unlawful user of, or addicted to, marijuana or any depressant, stimulant, narcotic drug or any other controlled substance?” The form then says, “Warning: the use or possession of marijuana remains unlawful under Federal law regardless of whether it has been legalized or decriminalized for medicinal or recreational purposes in the state where you reside.”
The ATF then bans cannabis and gun buyers who answer, “yes.” The lawsuit argues this violates the second amendment.
“People across our country understand that somebody shouldn’t be denied access to a firearm simply because they’ve chosen to use medical cannabis. That is discriminatory on its face for marijuana patients, and this is something that needs to be changed at the federal level,” Fried said in an interview.
Nikki Fried is seeking the Democratic Party’s nomination. She intends to run against Republican Governor Ron DeSantis.
Cannabis and Guns in Florida
Fried says she didn’t mean to attack the Biden administration during an election year, but lawsuits have their own schedule. “[It’s] been in the works for years,” says Fried. “I’m going to stand up for people’s rights regardless of who’s in the White House,” she said. “We need to move forward as a country. It’s certainly was not my intention to sue a fellow Democrat, but it’s something that needs to be moved.”
As for cannabis and guns… do they really mix? Here, both Fried and Gov. DeSantis agree. One should not have their federal constitutional rights stripped because of the laws of a state. In the US system, at least in theory, the federal government is subordinate to the states. If two laws are incompatible with each other, like cannabis and guns, then the local law takes priority.
Fried says background checks that deny medical cannabis patients weapons make Florida unsafe. With their second amendment rights violated, cannabis patients are more likely to use a private seller. Where background checks are less rigorous or virtually nonexistent.
While Fried and DeSantis disagree on cannabis, DeSantis appears to be supportive of the lawsuit.