Authored By Maria C. White, Associate, GrayRobinson, P.A.

Maria C. White, Associate, GrayRobinson, P.A.

Florida law does not explicitly prohibit a medical marijuana card holder from obtaining a concealed weapons and firearms license. It also does not prohibit a concealed weapons licensee from obtaining a medical marijuana card. Commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Services Nikki Fried has gone on record contending that Florida law allows one to simultaneously hold both. In 2019, Fried explained, “I have both [a concealed weapons permit and medical marijuana card]. So I want to make that very clear, that I will not be taking anybody’s concealed weapons permit or not renewing them. I see no conflict between the two.”[1] The Florida Department of Agriculture, however, will only issue a firearms license if the applicant is not prohibited from purchasing or possessing a firearm by any other provision of Florida or federal law.[2]

 

It’s federal law that throws a wrench into things. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) has actually sent letters to all federal firearm licensees reminding them that 18 U.S.C. s. 922(d)(3) prohibits any person from selling or otherwise disposing of any firearm or ammunition to any person knowing or having reasonable cause to believe that such person is an unlawful user of, or addicted to, a controlled substance. The letter states, in part, “…any person who uses or is addicted to marijuana, regardless of whether his or her state has passed legislation authorizing marijuana use for medicinal purposes [emphasis added], is an unlawful user of or addicted to a controlled substance and is prohibited by Federal law from possessing firearms or ammunition.”[3]

 

Aside from obtaining a concealed carry license from the state, making a firearms purchase as a cannabis patient is problematic as well. The firearms license form used by ATF requires applicants to answer the following question: “Are you an unlawful user of, or addicted to, marijuana or any depressant, stimulant, narcotic drug, or any other controlled substance? 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.”[4] As the applicant’s honest answer to this question would have to be yes, medical cannabis card holders in Florida will likely be prohibited from successfully purchasing firearms or ammunition.

 

All things considered, despite Commissioner Fried’s statements and intention to refrain from taking any action against Florida citizens who wish to possess marijuana, cannabis remains a controlled substance under federal law. This means that the State of Florida is prohibited from issuing a concealed carry license if the individual possesses a medical cannabis card.

[1] DocMJ, Can Medical Marijuana Patients Have a Concealed Weapons Permit in Florida? Jul 9, 2020, https://docmj.com/blog/2020/07/09/can-medical-marijuana-patients-have-a-concealed-weapons-permit-in-florida/.

[2] Fla. Stat. s. 790.06(2).

[3] U.S. Department of Justice, Open Letter to All Federal Firearms Licensees, September 21, 2011 (https://www.atf.gov/firearms/docs/open-letter/all-ffls-sept2011-open-letter-marijuana-medicinal-purposes/download).

[4] U.S. Department of Justice, Application for Federal Firearms License, https://www.atf.gov/firearms/docs/form/form-7-7-cr-application-federal-firearms-license-atf-form-531012531016/download