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Medical Marijuana and Firearms: Feds Say You Can’t Use Both; Florida Official Disagrees, Takes Case to Court

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by Friedrich Seiltgen

A Florida Democrat is battling the federal government over whether state residents can buy firearms if they also use medical marijuana.  

Federal law says you can’t do both. But Florida’s Agriculture and Consumer Services Commissioner Nikki Fried believes the law should be changed. Earlier this year, she filed a lawsuit aiming to get that changed – and the feds want the suit to be tossed out of court.

The Department of Justice last week asked a federal court to dismiss the lawsuit that seeks to overturn a federal policy blocking medical marijuana patients from buying or owning guns. Fried’s suit asserts that the federal government is depriving patients of their constitutional rights on multiple grounds. 

The DOJ stance on the matter is that even though Florida has legalized cannabis, the Federal government has not. The Fed believes Marijuana use is dangerous. Fried’s position is that cannabis was legal and prescribed in the past, and that the prohibition of cannabis was enacted more than a century after the Second Amendment was written.  

Portion of the motion to dismiss from the DOJ reads as follows.

“Marijuana users with firearms pose a danger comparable to, if not greater than, other groups that have historically been disarmed.  For example, ‘like the mentally ill,’ drug users ‘are more likely to have difficulty exercising self-control, making it dangerous for them to possess deadly firearms.’ In addition, the impairments caused by marijuana use are analogous to those caused by ‘intoxication’ with alcohol, which has historically justified firearms restrictions. 

” In fact, greater justification exists for firearms restrictions on marijuana users because, unlike alcohol, marijuana is an illegal drug.  Such restrictions are therefore also analogous to firearms restrictions on those engaged in criminal activity.”

Fried filed an amendment to the lawsuit last month based on the recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling on the Second Amendment, stating, “Floridians should not be deprived of a constitutional right for using a medication lawfully.”

Friedrich Seiltgen is a retired Master Police Officer with 20 years of service with the Orlando Police Department. He conducts training in Lone Wolf Terrorism Counterstrategies, Firearms and Active Shooter Response. Contact him at [email protected].

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