In Florida, patients commonly believe that having a legal medical marijuana card precludes them from also having their concealed weapon license (CWL). At Angelic Lift in Daytona Beach and Jacksonville, FL, we have extensively researched this topic. Here, we present the most accurate information possible so you understand how the state laws intersect.
Medical Marijuana and a Concealed Weapon License
Before we delve much deeper, we want to assure you that in Florida, it is legal to have a CWL and medical marijuana card at the same time. One does not preclude the other, contrary to popular belief.
Nikki Fried, Florida’s Commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Services, is in charge of the state department that issues CWLs to residents. Just before she took office in 2019, she stated, “I have both [a concealed weapon license and therapeutic marijuana card]. 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.”
As an attorney, Commissioner Fried is well-versed in Florida’s state laws. She holds her bachelor’s, master’s, and Juris Doctor degrees from the University of Florida. Equally important, as a state-elected official, she is sworn to uphold the law.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed into effect bill SB182 in March 2019. This bill allows marijuana to be sold and purchased for medical purposes. Just to be clear, this bill only protects Floridians who have a state-issued medicinal marijuana card.
To determine your eligibility for this card, Florida requires you first receive certification from an authorized medical practitioner – such as our office. This certification basically states that for chronic health reasons, you should have the legal right to use therapeutic marijuana.
Once you have certification, you must complete a state-mandated application that verifies your identity and Florida residency. Upon approval, you will receive an email from the Florida Department of Health that allows you to purchase medication from state-approved dispensaries.
Concealed Weapon or Firearm License
Florida is recognized as a shall-issue state, meaning CWLs are permitted. The issuance and oversight of CWLs are handled by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS). It is important to remember this department does not regulate gun purchase or ownership. To meet the criteria for a CWL, applicants must be:
- At least 21 years old
- Members of the military or honorably discharged veterans
- Trained in firearms with course certification
A lot of misunderstanding stems from the Concealed Weapon or Firearm License application itself, as required by the FDACS. This application is not intended to trip people up, but its questions often cause confusion.
Question 14A essentially asks if you have been convicted of or arrested for – in the previous three and five years respectively – controlled substance-related charges. Commissioner Fried recommends that if this does not apply to you, you answer no regardless of your standing as a therapeutic marijuana patient.
This means that if you don’t have a prior drug conviction or arrest in the time specified by the application, you can rightfully answer no to this question and proceed further for your CWL. Your response is not relative to medicinal marijuana.
This question essentially asks if, in the previous three years, you have been convicted of alcohol or drug abuse and/or deemed a habitual offender. This question is based on Section 790.06 of the law governing concealed weapons in Florida.
That law basically states the FDACS will issue a CWL to an applicant who does not “use alcoholic beverages or other substances” in a chronic manner that impairs his or her judgment or faculties. Again, you are to apply the same logic to this question as that of 14A – even if you have a card for medicinal marijuana.
According to Commissioner Fried, her office views therapeutic marijuana in the same way as any other medicine. Meaning that if you are in compliance with state laws and have not been convicted of habitual drug or alcohol abuse charges in the timeframe specified by the CWL application, you can again answer no to question 14B.
Once you have your CWL, it will not be revoked after you become a therapeutic marijuana patient. In short, Florida’s state laws do not prevent you from having both your legal marijuana card and your CWL – just as Commissioner Fried does.
Purchasing a Gun
This is another area of the law that commonly causes confusion, and with good reason. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives requires transaction records to be completed anytime a firearm is sold, whether from an authorized dealer or in private. On these forms, one of the questions explicitly asks if you use marijuana or other controlled substances.
Attached to this question on every form is a warning in bold font that states, “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.”
No State Protection
Essentially, this means that patients in compliance with Florida laws concerning medical marijuana and CWLs cannot lawfully purchase firearms or ammunition. This is based solely on the question and warning provided above.
State and federal rules can and often do differ from each other. Because Florida has the right to regulate residents’ health and safety, it can protect marijuana rights for those who medically need it. But the federal law also remains intact, meaning you can have a concealed weapon license and therapeutic marijuana card but not lawfully purchase firearms.
Here to Help
Our goal is to help you improve your health in the purest, most natural ways possible. If you still have questions about Florida’s laws or would like to obtain your medical marijuana card, call Angelic Lift in Daytona Beach and Jacksonville, FL, today.