Over six and a half million voted in favor of Amendment 2 in the 2016 election, which gave Floridians with debilitating conditions access to medical marijuana. Today, a person with a state-issued medical marijuana license may use the substance — still classified as a Schedule I controlled substance under federal law — to treat illnesses such as cancer, epilepsy, glaucoma, HIV, PTSD, ALS, Crohn’s disease, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, and more. There is just one caveat: that person may not also be a lawful gun owner.
Today, the federal government restricts millions of registered gun owners in Florida from using marijuana to treat a health condition. This is because, under federal law, it is illegal to own a firearm if you are a marijuana user, even if you lawfully use marijuana. Despite the scientific evidence, marijuana remains a Schedule I substance with “a high potential for abuse and no medical use” among the likes of heroin, cocaine, and ecstasy.
Can I Purchase a Gun if I Use Medical Marijuana in Florida?
A person who sets out to buy a firearm must complete Form 4473. The form provides information to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, the federal agency in charge of regulating firearms and ammunition. On the form, one must fill out a question that asks if the applicant is “an unlawful user of” or “addicted to” any controlled substance. To this day, the ATF states that anyone with a state-issued medical marijuana card should answer “yes” to this question. The firearms dealer must, under law, decline selling the applicant the weapon he or she applied to purchase.
Since the U.S. Attorney General switched from the previous administration, lawful marijuana users may no longer feel secure knowing that their state laws protect them from the federal government. Weed enforcement policies from the last administration were repealed, and federal officers today are encouraged to pursue marijuana users in states where use has been legalized. Medical marijuana users who are also registered gun owners run the risk of severe federal consequences for violating federal law.
Attorney and State Representative Cord Byrd, R-Jacksonville Beach, who specializes in gun laws, warns medical marijuana users in Florida that eventually, the government will choose a lawful gun owner who is also a medical marijuana user to “make an example of” to dissuade others from having both medical marijuana and guns. Though most medical marijuana patients are unaware of the conflict, they must choose between their Second Amendment rights and their health.
Defense Lawyers Who Defend Gun Rights in West Palm Beach
Thousands of medical marijuana patients may be completely unaware of the conflict between their treatment and their rights because the Department of Health fails to mention state or federal gun laws on applications for medical marijuana cards. If you are a lawful gun owner who seeks marijuana to treat a debilitating condition, you may face federal consequences for violating federal gun laws. Talk to a federal weapons lawyer in West Palm Beach to discuss your case. Call 561-622-5575 or email us for a free consultation with a veteran criminal defense lawyer.