TALLAHASSEE, Fla -(Ammoland.com)- Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Nikki Fried’s challenge to the federal law that forbids the users of marijuana from owning guns has failed.
Ms. Fried, a Democrat, is a former cannabis lobbyist and a concealed carry permit holder. She sued the United States Department of Justice over the federal law that prevents marijuana users from owning firearms. She claims the law violates Florida residents’ Second Amendment rights. Concealed handgun permits in Florida are handled by the Florida Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services.
According to federal law, users of illegal drugs, including marijuana, are prohibited from owning firearms. Marijuana has been decriminalized in states across the country, leading to an explosion in the marijuana industry. The plant has been used to treat various illnesses, from cancer to glaucoma. Apart from medical uses, the drug has also been decriminalized for recreational use in multiple states.
Even though more and more states are decriminalizing weed, it doesn’t mean it is legal on the federal level.
Even though federal law trumps state law allowing the drug enforcement agency (DEA) to take action against the sellers and users of marijuana, the federal government has been reluctant to prosecute violators of the law. But the government has been quick to act against firearms owners that hold medical marijuana cards. One example is when Hawaiian gun owners with medical marijuana cards received letters stating they had to choose between owning guns or using their medicine.
Also, anyone who purchased a gun from a federal firearms licensee (FFL) while using medical marijuana technically committed a felony that could send them to prison. Lying on a form 4473 has sent people to jail. The 4473 asks if the gun owner is a user of marijuana. The form doesn’t separate medical marijuana from recreational uses of weed. If a gun owner checks yes, the FFL cannot transfer the firearm, so many choose to mark “no” even though they have a prescription for marijuana.
Nikki Fried is no friend to gun owners, but she is deeply rooted in the marijuana industry.
She sued in hopes of gutting the government’s power to enforce laws against cannabis. The lawsuit cited the Rohrabacher-Farr Amendment that prevents the DOJ from using federal money to prevent states from carrying out their own medical marijuana laws. The plaintiffs claim that the prohibition of firearms ownership for medical marijuana users ran afoul of the Amendment.
That challenge has now failed. A federal district judge dismissed Fried’s Constitutional challenge to the law. Judge Allen Winsor cited that just because federal authorities do not enforce marijuana prohibition, the drug still remains illegal under federal law.
“Regardless of whether plaintiffs are prosecuted (or whether Congress allocates funds for their prosecution), possession of marijuana remains a federal crime,” Judge Winsor wrote in his 22-page decision. “The Rohrabacher-Farr Amendment at best precludes prosecution now; it does not forever bless plaintiffs’ actions.”
Fried has not said if she will appeal the judge’s decision. Regardless of the plaintiff’s next move, these challenges to a firearms prohibition for medical marijuana users will continue as cannabis use is normalized.
About John Crump
John is a NRA instructor and a constitutional activist. John has written about firearms, interviewed people of all walks of life, and on the Constitution. John lives in Northern Virginia with his wife and sons and can be followed on Twitter at @crumpyss, or at www.crumpy.com.