Top Florida Democrat Sues Over Rule Keeping Medical Marijuana Users From Buying Guns

Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried's lawsuit targets a federal requirement that prohibits medical marijuana users from purchasing firearms

Nikki Fried, Florida Commissioner of Agriculture
Drew Angerer/Getty Image

Florida’s lone statewide elected Democrat, Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried, plans to sue the Biden administration Wednesday to try to block a federal rule that prohibits medical marijuana users from buying guns or maintaining concealed-carry permits.

The lawsuit — a draft copy of which was obtained by NBC News — targets a federal form that asks whether the gun buyer is an unlawful user of drugs and specifies that marijuana is illegal under federal law. A person allowed by the state to use marijuana must then check “yes,” which results in denial of the purchase. Lying by checking “no” runs the risk of a five-year prison sentence for making a false statement.

Fried, whose office oversees concealed weapons permits and medical marijuana centers, argues in her lawsuit that the form violates the Second Amendment rights of lawful medical marijuana patients and runs afoul of a congressional budget prohibition on federal agents’ interfering with state-sanctioned cannabis laws.

The suit has ramifications beyond Florida: At least 37 states have legalized medical marijuana, and recreational use is legal in 18 states, as well as Guam and Washington, D.C.

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Hope Wiseman became the youngest Black woman in the country to own a marijuana dispensary when she opened the doors to her business, Mary and Main, in September 2018. Her goal? To educate the Black community in Prince George's County, Maryland, and beyond about the benefits of marijuana. Black people are three times more likely than white people to be arrested for marijuana, despite similar usage rates.
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