Use of marijuana, medical or otherwise, with or without a valid prescription makes the possession of a firearm illegal. Yes, this includes in the state of Florida and in every other state in the U.S.A. This topic has been widely written on and continues to be a hot topic. It is the number one most asked question we get on our website. Why does there continue to be confusion about this topic? I believe the source of confusion comes from the marijuana industry and its lobbyists and former lobbyists. In this post we tell you the truth about what the law says concerning using medical marijuana and a Concealed Weapon & Firearm License.
Despite the fact that lawyers across the state agree that you cannot lawfully possess a firearm if you are a user of medical marijuana in Florida, websites such as Dr. Green Relief, continue to post false or misleading statements of the law written by non-lawyers. Let’s look at one such claim from their website: (read the entire post by clicking here)
There is nothing in Florida’s gun laws that says you have to surrender your weapons in order to get a medical marijuana card. You don’t give up your right to bear arms just because you use medical marijuana.
Section 10 of the CCW laws in Florida state that a CCW permit can be revoked or denied if you have been convicted in the past for substance abuse or for violating other laws regarding controlled substances. Getting certified for medical marijuana now won’t overturn those rules, but if you’ve stayed within the law before and continue to follow Florida’s medical marijuana laws, there’s no reason that you can’t apply for a CCW permit.
Likewise, there is nothing in the medical marijuana laws that talk about your firearms or your firearms rights. So you can get a CCW permit and a Medical Marijuana Card with no problems in Florida.
The site goes on to talk about Federal complications and ends the article with another misleading statement of the law, writing, “You’ll also be forced to go to other gun owners if you want a new firearm since new sales are controlled by the federal government. But beyond these restrictions, Florida will do nothing to stop you from using medical marijuana, buying a gun, or having a CCW permit.”
Are The Claims Above Correct?
Let’s look at these statements and analyze the law that actually applies.
The first sentence is correct, currently, nothing in Florida’s gun laws explicitly state that you have to surrender your weapons in order to get a medical marijuana card (MMC), however, the next sentence is flat out wrong. Those who use marijuana, medical or otherwise who continue to bear arms are breaking Federal Law.
18 U.S. Code 922 Unlawful Acts in relevant part reads
(g) It shall be unlawful for any person –
(3) who is an unlawful user of or addicted to any controlled substance (as defined in section 102 of the Controlled Substances Act (21 U.S.C. 802) to ship or transport in interstate or foreign commerce, or possess in or affecting commerce, any firearm or ammunition; or to receive any firearm or ammunition which has been shipped or transported in interstate or foreign commerce.
Further, the courts have held that congress can regulate and these law apply to purely intrastate activity that is not itself ‘commercial’ … if it concludes that failure to regulate that activity would undercut the regulation of the interstate market in that commodity, therefore allowing these laws to be applied even if the firearm has not been shipped or transported in interstate or foreign commerce. Therefore, I ask that you please hold the, “I bought a gun built in Florida or I built my own guns from parts that were all from within Florida” emails.
The Department of Agriculture Cannot Lawfully Issue You a CWFL!
Next let’s look at the following claim, “if you’ve stayed within the law before and continue to follow Florida’s medical marijuana laws, there’s no reason that you can’t apply for a CCW permit.”
This statement is true. However, medical marijuana and concealed carry is still not legal. There is no reason why you can’t apply for a CCW permit (by the way, there is no such thing as a CCW permit in Florida. Here we have a CWFL, a Concealed Weapon & Firearm License, but that is not the point). There is nothing illegal about a user of marijuana applying for a CWFL. However, the Department of Agriculture is not allowed to issue a CWFL to you by FLORIDA law. Florida Statues section 790.06 in relevant part reads:
“The Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services shall issue a license if the applicant:
(n) Is not prohibited from purchasing or possessing a firearm by any other provision of Florida or federal law.” (emphasis added)
As we have seen above 18 U.S. Code 922 (g) does not allow the possession of a firearm by users of marijuana further, 18 U.S. Code 922 (d) prohibits the sale of a firearm or ammunition to any person knowing or having reasonable cause to believe that such person – (3) is an unlawful user of or addicted to any controlled substance (as defined in section 102 of the Controlled Substances Act (21 U.S.C. 802).
Therefore, the Department of Agriculture is not legally authorized to issue a license to a person who cannot purchase or possess a firearm under Federal Law and since marijuana is still a controlled substance under Federal Law users of marijuana are not legally eligible to purchase or possess a firearm.
If Federal Law Prohibits You From Purchasing Or Possessing A Firearm You Are Not Eligible For A CWFL
The site next makes the following statement: “Likewise, there is nothing in the medical marijuana laws that talk about your firearms or your firearms rights. So you can get a CCW permit and a Medical Marijuana Card with no problems in Florida.” Although I have not reviewed the medical marijuana laws in preparation to write this piece, I am willing to give the author of this article the benefit of the doubt that the medical marijuana laws say nothing about your firearms or your firearm rights. I must however, disagree with their conclusion, that since the medical marijuana laws say nothing about your firearms or your firearms rights you can get a CWFL and a MMC, based on the above Florida law. I will state again that 790.06 (n) does not allow you to have a CWFL if you are prohibited by Federal law from purchasing or possessing a firearm.
Neither a Private Seller Nor a FFL Can Lawfully Sell a Firearm to a Person Who They Know or Have Reason To Believe Uses Marijuana
Another incorrect impression given by this article is that you can lawfully purchase a firearm from a private seller even though you cannot purchase one from a Federal Firearms Licensee (FFL). The law does not make it illegal for an FFL to sell a firearm to a person who is an unlawful user of marijuana, it makes it illegal for EVERYONE to sell a firearm to a person who they know or have reason to believe is an unlawful user of any controlled substance (including marijuana). Further, even if the person does not know or have reason to believe, it is still illegal under Federal law for you to purchase (receive or possess) a firearm under 18 U.S. Code 922(d) as explained above.
A Medical Marijuana Card Is Reason To Believe A Person Is An Unlawful User Of A Controlled Substance
Finally, although Federal law never makes it illegal to purchase a firearm if you possess a Medical Marijuana card, it does state that a person cannot sell a firearm or ammunition to a person if they have reasonable cause to believe they are an unlawful user of a controlled substance. The ATF has clearly indicated that the possession of a Medical Marijuana Card is reason to believe that the possessor is an unlawful user of a controlled substance, making the purchase of a firearm by the holder of said card illegal, making the issuance of a CWFL under Florida Statute 790.06 (n) unlawful. (Read the ATF’s letter containing this information here.)
We are not against medical or recreational use (should it become legal) of marijuana in Florida, or anywhere else. We are however against the dissemination of legal advice that tells people illegal actions are legal. Medical marijuana and concealed firearms licenses don’t mix. Will the Federal Government suddenly swoop in and go after everyone that has a MMC and a CWFL? Unlikely. Could the possession of both a MMC and CWFL lead a judge to determine there is probable cause of a crime? Maybe, and maybe a warrant will one day be issued, and the legal battle will begin. Getting away with a crime does not change the fact that it is a crime and legal advice stating otherwise should not be given.
Read our other posts on Medical Marijuana: