Florida’s Agriculture Commissioner Says the Ban on Gun Possession by Marijuana Users Is Unconstitutional

Nikki Fried runs Florida’s Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. A federal law prohibiting marijuana users possessing firearms is what Fried is challenging. Fried is the sole Democrat of the Florida’s statewide elected representatives and is running for the Democratic nomination as governor. She claims that the federal ban is against the Second Amendment. A congressional spending rider prohibits the Justice Department interference with state-run medical marijuana programs.

Florida is one 37 states to have such programs. Fried is sueing in her official capacity as her department oversees conceal carry permits, as well as certain parts of Florida’s cannabis sector. She said, “I am suing the Biden Administration for limiting people’s rights.” said on Twitter this morning. It is legal to use medical marijuana. The possession of guns is legal. It’s about the people’s right and freedoms to have them responsibly.

The announcement caused considerable confusion among Democrats. A Twitter user called Fried a “DINO,” or Democratic in Name Only, and said that Fried was “FL does this to you.” Another commenter said: “Oh, yikes!” I had been supporting you up until this. Nikki: No thank you. Unfollowed. “I hope you’re able to find a better Democrat.”

The Democratic Party believes that the Second Amendment is so important, that simply defending those rights will make one a DINO. Fried’s critics will be horrified if Fried made a federal law that said marijuana users were not allowed to speak freely or could be searched in their homes at will, without the need for a warrant. She is clearly a poor Democrat because she is focusing solely on the Constitution’s right to bear and keep arms. Evidently, the party’s exurgated Bill of Rights does not impose any restrictions on gun control. This is true even if it clearly violates racial minority rights or is unjust.

Fried is joined in the lawsuit by two Florida patients who use medical marijuana. The suit names Marvin Richardson, acting director of Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, as the defendants. Today’s complaint was filed in the U.S. District Court for Northern Florida. It states that “The Defendants’ irrational and inconsistent federal marijuana policy undermines Florida’s firearms laws and hinders Commissioner Fried’s ability to ensure Floridians have the state rights related to them.”

The complaint states that the ATF form gun buyers must fill out prior to purchasing from federally licensed dealers asks “Are your illegal use or addiction to marijuana, any depressant stimulant, drug of narcotic, or other controlled substance?” The Gun Control Act of 1968 prohibits the purchase of marijuana.

In its current form, the law bars cannabis users from possessing and receiving firearms. It effectively takes away their Second Amendment rights. Violation of this ban can result in a felony that could land you up to 10 years imprisonment. Falsely denying marijuana use on an ATF form can result in a felony that could land you up to five years imprisonment. Each state that legalized marijuana for recreational or medical use added an ATF warning: “Use or possession of marijuana is still illegal under Federal law, no matter where it’s legalized in your state.”

A provision in the Illinois State Police bill that banned the taking of guns from people simply because they were marijuana consumers was included when Illinois legalized recreational cannabis use. However, such provisions have no effect on federal law. This means that even in Illinois cannabis users who purchase guns from gun dealers commit at most two felonies. Even if the buyer gets guns from a private seller, who is not required by law to complete the ATF form they still violate the law. If the seller knows, or has reasonable cause to believe, that the buyer smokes pot, or is using it to treat a medical condition, this constitutes a felony.

All of it was absurd. This is even more true now that legal medical marijuana in 37 states has become law. Only 18 states allow recreational marijuana, accounting for nearly two-fifths (or over a third) of all U.S. citizens. Fried’s lawsuit points out that Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas (no one’s idea if a hippie) has complained about the “half – in, half – out regime that simultaneously permits and discourages marijuana use.” Thomas lamented the “conflictory, unstable state of affairs” in 2021 regarding tax deductions for suppliers of medical marijuana.

Thomas didn’t mention the federal ban against marijuana-users owning guns, but it is an example of “traps to the unwary.” Gun buyers using marijuana may not be aware of all the consequences or fill out the ATF form because they do not understand the meanings. This issue was brought up by a prominent marijuana reformer. He didn’t realize the ban also covers purchases and possession.

Case 2016 Lynch v. Wilson, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit ruled that banning gun sales to people who have medical marijuana cards is consistent with the Second Amendment because “empirical data and legislative determinations support a strong link between drug use and violence.” Fried claims that Fried’s decision was based on “a thin, stale, and inconsistent factual record.” It also ignored the Office of National Drug Control Policy 2013 study which found marijuana use doesn’t cause violent crime. According to Fried, “the claimed factual base for marijuana use does not induce violent crime.” WilsonIts progeny is no longer valid and has not been supported scientifically, as far as they relate to patients who have complied with state laws.

Also, the 9th Circuit didn’t consider an annually renewed prohibition that prevents the Justice Department (which includes ATF) from spending money to stop states “implementing state laws authorizing the use, distribution and cultivation of marijuana.” Fried claims that the challenged regulations and law violate the congressional order because they prevent the Florida medical marijuana program’s implementation by penalizing state-law-abiding individuals and excluding those who reasonably wish to take part in it.

Fried asks the district court for a declaration that marijuana-related gun restraints violate the spending rider as well as the Second Amendment, “as it applies to state-law abiding patients with medical marijuana and those who reasonably intend to take part in the state’s medical marijuana program.” Her request for an injunction also includes a prohibition against the defendants from applying those restrictions to “state-medical marijuana patients”.

Fried claimed today at a press conference that she wasn’t challenging the federal government for its right to create reasonable gun regulations protecting the public. Fried stated that she believed the federal government should take common-sense measures to protect families and communities from gun violence. This has been a tragic issue for our state in the past. However, she said “denying medical marijuana patients the Second Amendment rights is not about safety.”

NBC News reports, however, that Fried’s lawsuit had been denied by the ATF spokesperson. He said instead that Fried “implicitly blamed federal politicians for not changing Controlled Substances Act” and Gun Control Act. The Second Amendment rights to cannabis consumers would be restored if Congress took marijuana off the controlled substance lists, which was the intention of the House bill approved April 1. But that bill is probably doomed in the Senate, as is the legalization bill that Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D–N.Y.) The plan is to bring the bill forward “before August recess”. It is unlikely that President Joe Biden would sign the repeal bill, even though Democrats did manage to garner enough Republican support to pass it through the Senate.

John Morgan, a trial lawyer and Biden fundraiser, said to NBC News that he doesn’t think President Obama will reconsider his position. Morgan stated that he spoke to Joe personally about the matter and that he would not change his mind. “Joe Biden doesn’t understand marijuana….Joe has so much drug abuse in his own family that in his mind it’s a no-go. People who are older don’t understand the value of marijuana.