The Relationship between Medical Marijuana & Concealed Weapon License
In dealing with Medical Cannabis patients, I get some common questions that arise as to whether weapons can be purchased, or if patients can continue with their concealed weapon license in the state of Florida? It is widely believed that citizens have to give up their concealed weapon permit and that they cannot still purchase guns.
However, this blog will explain that there’s an opposite effect; having an MMUR/ medical marijuana user registry card does not preclude or cancel your ability to have a concealed weapons license. However, it does preclude you from purchasing a weapon once enrolled in MMUR.
In March of 2019 Bill SB 182 was signed By Governor DeSantis. This bill allows Marijuana purchase for medical purposes. It only protects Floridians who have a state-issued medical marijuana card. To determine eligibility for this card, Florida requires that you first receive this certification from an authorized practitioner. The certification basically states that for chronic health reasons, you should have the right to use therapeutic marijuana.
Once the practitioner has created the certification, you must complete a state-mandated application. Upon approval you will receive an email from the state (Florida Department of Health) that you are allowed to medicate, under the state approved Marijuana program, through a Medical Marijuana dispensary.
Florida is recognized as a shall - issue state. Meaning, Concealed Weapon Licenses are permitted (CWL). Issuance and oversight are handled by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS). It is important to note, that the FDACS does not regulate gun purchase or ownership. This is regulated by the Federal Bureau of Tobacco, Alcohol and Firearms (ATF).
Nikki Fried, the commissioner of the Florida Agriculture and Consumer Services Department has both a concealed weapons license and a MMUR card. She is an attorney who sees no conflict and uses medicinal cannabis and maintains her CWL. She sees it like any other medication.
The application, for the concealed weapons license has two questions, 14 A and 14 B, that cause confusion. 14 A refers to convictions and arrests; just because you own MMUR card you are still able to answer, No. 14 B is concerned about chronic abuse of drug and alcohol, and impairment from such abuse. Just having a MMUR card should still allow you to answer No.
This all means that possession of MMUR card does not prevent you from having, maintaining or renewing your CWL.
Purchasing a gun requires a transaction record from the ATF that must be completed any time a firearm is sold or transferred. There is one specific question that makes it quite clear (along with its warning) that anyone in possession of an MMUR card is not legally allowed to purchase a gun or ammo. In addition, it states that there is no state protection as there is for the CWL. It comes down to federal law versus state law; with federal law trumping state law. Federal law does not interfere with the state’s right to govern its own laws.