Before we get into the medical marijuana laws that conflict with gun laws in Florida, we first have to clear the air or some misunderstandings that have come up around this issue.
First, we have to address the fact that Florida has not passed any laws barring medical marijuana patients from owning guns.
The conflict between medical marijuana laws and gun laws is that cannabis remains to be federally banned. Anyone with any addiction to any illegally obtained drug including marijuana, is exempt from gun ownership and possession.
Under Federal Law, no one who uses cannabis should own or possess a weapon. This law certainly pertains to marijuana users who do not have a medical card or those that smoke it and buy it on the black market. The unchanging federal prohibition on controlled substances, including marijuana, prohibits the possession or purchase of firearms by anyone who uses those controlled substances, including marijuana.
Plainly stated, this means that if you are going to be a medical marijuana patient and get a legal medical marijuana card, you will not be able to purchase or possess firearms. Technically the same applies to nonmedical marijuana card holders that use marijuana.
Conflict Between Federal And State Law
- There are three federal laws that are in conflict with local state laws that allow for the legal possession and purchase of medical marijuana, they are:
- The controlled substances act: cannabis and THC are classified as Schedule 1 drugs which means prohibits anyone from producing, possessing, or selling them.
- Title 18, Section 922 of the United States Code: this law states that it is illegal for anyone who uses a controlled substance to buy or possess a firearm.
- The same law also prohibits the sale or transfer of a gun to anyone who uses a controlled substance.
- Form 4473: The ATF has implemented this form as part of the legal process of purchasing a gun from a gun store.
There are specific questions on the 4473 Form that, if answered honestly, would prohibit a medical marijuana patient from purchasing a gun. The form even has this warning:
“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.”
So if the gun seller knows that you are a medical marijuana patient, they would be in their right to deny selling you a gun.
Reports are that some police departments in Pennsylvania, Illinois, and Hawaii have taken it upon themselves to enforce federal law over state law by informing medical marijuana patients they must either turn in or dispose of their guns.
The Situation In Florida
Although other states have taken the hard stance of denying medical marijuana patients the right to own a gun, Florida seems to be one of the states where that is not the case for these reasons:
- The gun-show loophole: Although buying from a private dealer does not make it legal under federal law for a marijuana user to own a gun, the transaction can be made without filling out the federal 4473 form.
- The FORMER Florida Agricultural Commissioner, Nikki Fried, has a medical marijuana card and also has a concealed carry permit. Her office has made it clear that they will not deny gun rights to medical marijuana patients. Here is her official statement:
While Florida has changed its stance on Marijuana, the federal government has not.
So it is technically illegal to possess and purchase a gun while having a medical marijuana card, the state of Florida is not actively denying you that right as of now. This question will be settled in Federal Court or by an Act of Congress. There are currently 3 cases pending on this issue on point. The Supreme Court will have the final say if Congress does not change the law.
FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE