Nikki Fried fighting back against federal law that prohibits medical marijuana users from buying firearms

Reporter: Justin Kase Writer: Drew Hill
Published: Updated:
Nikki Fried lawsuit announcement

A Florida Democrat is taking aim at the federal government, all over medical marijuana and guns.

Currently, you cannot have a medical marijuana card and buy a gun because federally, marijuana is not legal. More than half of the states in America allow medical marijuana use, either medicinally or recreationally. Medical marijuana became legal in Florida in 2016.

Agriculture and Consumer Services Commissioner Nikki Fried takes issue with the fact that federal law still prohibits medical marijuana users from possessing and purchasing firearms. She hopes to change that with a lawsuit.

Visitors to downtown Fort Myers had some things to say about medical marijuana and Fried’s lawsuit. Fried made the announcement on Tuesday, April 20, that she’s suing the Biden administration. 4/20 is a slang term referring to marijuana.

Fried describes this law as discrimination. “Discrimination unique to medical marijuana patients, and not any other patients who have legal prescriptions for other medications are all due to the federal government’s continued misguided cannabis prohibition,” said Fried.

According to Fried, the lawsuit is about people’s rights and freedoms to responsibly have both.

Mauro Fisher is visiting from Tampa. “I believe the state should be able to make the decision and leave the federal government out of it,” Fisher said.

Rob Armstrong of Lehigh Acres had a compelling question. “You can legally drink beer. Why can’t you legally smoke marijuana and still have a firearm?” Armstrong said.

Her lawsuit has the support of many in Southwest Florida, including retired law enforcement officer John Stachowski. “Times have changed. The world has changed,” Stachowski said.

However, not everyone agrees that mixing the two is safe. Jennifer Klein is from Chicago. “A lot of things can be impaired with alcohol and marijuana and carrying concealed. Are we adults enough to make sure that we don’t carry a gun when we’re doing either or? I would hope so, but in our society, no,” Klein said.

Fried says that medical marijuana users in the State of Florida are having their second amendment rights violated by the federal government.

Kylie Johns asks how medical marijuana is different from anything else? “What is the difference of someone who drinks alcohol whether it’s regularly, a few times a week, or even a drink a year. What is the difference?” Johns said.

Annesta Malcolm agrees. “However the state permits the usage of marijuana, whether it’s medicinal or recreational, you should be able to use and possess your firearm,” Malcolm said.

Some people, like Paula Rice, say they’re fine with people possessing both, just not at the same time. “I’m not promoting that people carry a firearm when they’re drinking alcohol or smoking marijuana,” said Rice.

A few weeks ago, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the MORE Act which, amongst other things, would end the federal prohibition of marijuana. It would still need to be passed in the Senate before heading to the President’s desk where it would be signed into law.

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