With both a CCW permit and a medical marijuana card, is Florida Ag Commissioner Nikki Fried breaking the law?

Lee’s note: This just in from my good friend, senior reporter Billy Cox. It’s important to note that Agriculture Commissioner Fried oversees Florida’s popular concealed weapon licensing program.

Cox: Will the feds bust Nikki Fried?

Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried flaunts federal law with a concealed carry permit and a marijuana card

by Billy Cox 

SARASOTA — Could Florida Department of Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried get busted by Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives agents for violating federal law? According to the Schedule 1 regulation that governs America’s marijuana policy, the answer would appear to be yes.

Fried, the only Democrat in the Florida Cabinet, devoted much of her 2018 campaign to advocating for greater access to medical marijuana in Florida. Problem: she has also made no secret of her licenses to buy medical marijuana and to carry a concealed weapon.

“I have both,” Fried said on a Trulieve-sponsored Marijuana Solution podcast shortly before taking office in January. “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.”

But the federal government does. Classified by the Controlled Substances Act of 1970 as a Schedule 1 drug,
marijuana by definition has “no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse.”

Federal law would seem to trump state concealed-carry laws, meaning, in some experts opinions, Fried cannot legally have both her cards.

Although science has, for many people, long since demolished that assertion and more three million Americans are estimated to be registered medical cannabis users, the federal definition hasn’t budged an inch since Richard Nixon signed it into law nearly 50 years ago. And as the ATF made clear when it updated in 2016 its Form 4473 — the background check that gun buyers must complete before making a purchase from licensed dealers — what state legislatures do is irrelevant.

“Warning,” it begins in boldface type. “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.”

Nearly one out of three Floridians are estimated to own guns, and as medical cannabis gains in popularity, so do commensurate anxieties about the law.

“We deal with people who already have guns, and it’s one of the most common questions we get about medical marijuana,” says certified financial planner Cindy Clark who, along with fellow Sarasota attorney Jeff Young, conducts “Ask The Gun Lawyer” Q&A sessions with local gun dealers.

“A lot of medical marijuana distributors will tell them, ‘Oh, no problem, if you’ve got a medical card, don’t worry, you’re golden,’ and that’s just not true,” says Clark. “But all we do is tell people the law. And if you want to break it, well, that’s up to you.”

Young recalls an angry medical marijuana distributor from Miami telling Young to stop giving out bad information about guns and weed. The dispensary owner maintained that Floridians could legally indulge both because he saw Fried “standing on the courthouse steps and hold up a marijuana card in one hand and a concealed carry card in the other.”

When Young tried to correct him, the distributor said you could lie about marijuana use on your gun permit
application and the law would never find out if you had a medical card because “under HIPPA (medical privacy) laws, there’s no cross-checking of those things.”

In fact, according to a Washington Post review of 112,000 federal gun-purchase denials in 2017 because of
applicants identified in “forbidden categories,” the ATF investigated 12,700 and prosecuted just 12.

But, Young told the dispenser, if your gun is involved in a shooting incident and “the cops go through your wallet and find both cards, they can pull your 4473, and if you marked ‘no’ at the same time you had a medical marijuana card, they can charge you with falsifying your 4473, which is a felony.”

When the Herald-Tribune contacted the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services for
clarification, press secretary Max Flugrath stated: “The issue is pretty clear” in an email.

“Florida Statute 790.06 provides a limited list of factors (such as felony arrests, whether the instructor deems the applicant capable, etc.) upon which our Department must approve or deny a concealed weapons license. Therefore, the Department is prohibited from asking questions outside that scope, which would include medical marijuana card possession.”

However, a deeper dive into that statute — specifically 790.06(2)(n) — sets a list of conditions concealed carry applicants must meet, so long as they’re not in violation of “any other provision of Florida or federal law.” Those words again. Federal law.

Click here to read the entire story.

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About Author

Lee Williams can’t remember a time in his life when he wasn’t shooting. Before becoming a journalist, Lee served in the Army and worked as a police officer. He’s earned more than a dozen journalism awards as a reporter, and three medals of valor as a cop. He is an NRA-certified law enforcement firearms instructor, an avid tactical shooter and a training junkie. When he’s not busy as a senior investigative reporter, he is usually shooting his AKs, XDs and CZs. If you don’t run into him at a local gun range, you can reach him at 941.284.8553, by email, or by regular mail to 1777 Main St., Sarasota, FL 34236. You can follow him on Twitter: @HT_GunWriter and on Facebook @The Gun Writer.

7 Comments

  1. Manuel E Gutierrez on

    Mary Jane is the least harmful of chemicals that people use both Medically or for Recreational use. Most damaging are alcoholic beverages, and the opioids. The food industry use of preservatives, bug killers in the farms are also a hidden killer. Too many interests and the buck are all at play and battle here. In our society you have to either go to Court or to the legislatures and fight there. Let’s not forget water and the mining and other energy producing behemoths. And now climate change due to carbon emissions are allegedly threatening our human species. Yep! It is doomsday scenario .

  2. Maybe its time that the people of the US open a class action lawsuit against the BATFE over this issue, challenge decisions made by the one President to be removed from office at the result of an impeachment, and actually fight for their rights for a freaking change.

  3. Marijuana is a very dangerous drug and its lega!ization by greedy states who prioratize tax revenue over the mental and physical health of the user is totally irresponsible. The substance should be banned from general use. The ATF is absolutely correct in banning all marijuana users from posessing firearms.

    Anyone who says that marijuana is harmless and that they can function without impairment when using the substance reveals the brain damage already inflicted upon them by use of the drug. The science is solid. Marijuana is a dangerous substance and its use is linked schitzophrenia. Users under the influence of marijuana are intoxicated and are unfit to operate firearms, machinery and automobiles. The feds should act immediatly on the Ag Commissioner and put her behind bars if she lied on her 4473.

  4. Identify Prohibited Persons
    The Gun Control Act (GCA), codified at 18 U.S.C. § 922(g), makes it unlawful for certain categories of persons to ship, transport, receive, or possess firearms or ammunition, to include any person:
    • convicted in any court of a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year;
    • who is a fugitive from justice;
    • who is an unlawful user of or addicted to any controlled substance (as defined in section 102 of the Controlled Substances Act, codified at 21 U.S.C. § 802);
    • who has been adjudicated as a mental defective or has been committed to any mental institution;
    • who is an illegal alien;
    • who has been discharged from the Armed Forces under dishonorable conditions;
    • who has renounced his or her United States citizenship;
    • who is subject to a court order restraining the person from harassing, stalking, or threatening an intimate partner or child of the intimate partner; or
    • who has been convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence.
    The GCA at 18 U.S.C. § 992(n) also makes it unlawful for any person under indictment for a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year to ship, transport, or receive firearms or ammunition.
    Further, the GCA at 18 U.S.C. § 922(d) makes it unlawful to sell or otherwise dispose of firearms or ammunition to any person who is prohibited from shipping, transporting, receiving, or possessing firearms or ammunition.
    https://www.atf.gov/firearms/identify-prohibited-persons

    Schedule I
    Schedule I drugs, substances, or chemicals are defined as drugs with no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse. Some examples of Schedule I drugs are:

    heroin, lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), marijuana (cannabis), 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (ecstasy), methaqualone, and peyote
    https://www.dea.gov/drug-scheduling

  5. I currently have both a CWP and a prescription for Marijuana. When I recently bought a handgun I did not check the unlawful drug use box because, as far as I knew then, I was a lawful user. Now I learn, by doing so, I have violated a Federal law. By attempting to be both a lawful gun owner and lawful marijuana user I have put myself in unresolvable legal jeopardy – fait accompli.

    My response will be to surrender my marijuana card ASAP, but unwinding my actions and returning to legal gun owner status may also require me to surrender the gun I purchased when the card was active. Of course, I will need to wait on that, as well, because an unlawful drug user can’t buy, sell, trade, or gift a firearm.

    I can live without weed, but for many FL gun owners who might really need it, this tar baby will keep them from accessing the legal weed system and thus encourage illegal drug trafficking. Also, only the attorneys will win.

  6. paul vincent zecchino on

    Shouldn’t you pay close attention to what she does and ignore her happy talk? Isn’t she described as a danger to liberty?

    What’s a forty year old in apparent good health doing with a medical marijuana card?

    Didn’t Bloomberg buy her the job? Didn’t the Broward voodoo queen who runs the ballot box fix the ballots?

    She’s as anti-2A as one can get, isn’t she? Didn’t Bloomberg stuf her into office to do two things: inflict New York style gun control on Floridians, and addict them?

    A disarmed, defenseless, mocus, inebriated populace is much easier to subjugate, isn’t it?

    If she’s not out to cancel permits and take firearms from the law abiding, why’d she so rudely dismiss gun-rights advocate Marion Hammer, and stuff her office with gun hating, anti-Second Amendment activists?

    Wasn’t she all set to pull the gun grab, had Marxist Gillum won? Didn’t he intend to infest Florida’s Supreme Court with three Marxist judges who would rubber stamp any and all anti-2A initiatives from Fried?

    But things didn’t work out, did they? Not yet, at least. So she’s behaving in manner of a eel, lying quietly on the bottom, awaiting her opportunity, isn’t she?

    Meanwhile, gun-hating Parkland professional Victim/opportunist Fred Guttenberg works for this one, but he publicly says his full time job is ‘working to ban guns’? Does he have two jobs? Or are he and Fried not telling us the whole truth?

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