As more medical marijuana dispensaries open in Florida, one state representative is warning users that they can face serious legal consequences if they also own a gun.
With his history and knowledge of gun laws, Byrd has taken it upon himself to make sure medical marijuana users in the state know that their medicine and guns don’t mix.
Federal law prohibits any “unlawful user” of a controlled substance to purchase a firearm, and it doesn’t matter if Florida has legalized medical marijuana, he said.
Are you an unlawful user of, or addicted to, marijuana or any depressant, stimulant, narcotic drug, or any other controlled substance?
Any individual that lies anywhere on the FTR application has committed a felony and, if convicted, faces a mandatory 5-year Federal prison sentence. If you are a legal medical marijuana patient and answer truthfully, there is a chance that the application will not be approved.
In October 2016, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives amended the Form 4473 to add the following to Question 11(e):
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 form clarifies that “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 Federal government has little authority over state legislated concealed carry programs.
The state of Florida would have to exclude, via legislation, qualified medical marijuana patients from holding a concealed carry permit. This legislation does not currently exist.
Within the eligibility requirements of Florida’s concealed carry program, are two stipulations that could apply to medical marijuana patients:
- A conviction for violation of controlled substance laws or multiple arrests for such offenses.
- A record of drug or alcohol abuse.
Since Amendment 2 clearly prohibits the potential of “criminal or civil liability or sanctions” against qualified medical marijuana patients, our opinion is that the first eligibility requirement does not apply. As for the second disqualifier, a “record of drug or alcohol abuse” would require prior criminal charges that a qualified patient would not be subject to after they’re entered into the Compassionate Use system provided they stay within the boundaries of the program.
In 2011, Oregon sheriffs stripped Cynthia Willis of her concealed handgun permit after she obtained a medical marijuana card. Authorities argued that federal law prohibited drug users from purchasing firearms, and therefore Willis could not be issued a permit to carry a firearm. The Oregon Supreme Court ultimately ruled in favor of allowing medical marijuana patients in the state to obtain concealed carry permits.