- Commissioner of Agriculture Nikki Fried is pointing to a recent Supreme Court ruling on guns to strengthen her lawsuit against the Biden administration
- The lawsuit is attempting to abolish a question on a federal gun purchase form that asks if the buyer is a user of drugs, specifying that marijuana is still considered illegal at the federal level.
- When a user of medical marijuana confirms that they are a user, they are refused permission to buy a firearm.
- Medical marijuana is legal in Florida, as voted on in 2018
Commissioner of Agriculture Nikki Fried is pointing to a recent Supreme Court ruling as part of an amended complaint in a lawsuit against the Biden administration. The legal challenge calls into question a federal regulation that makes it illegal for users of medical marijuana to purchase firearms.
In an effort to overturn a federal regulation that forbids medicinal marijuana users from being able to purchase a gun or keep a concealed carry permit, Fried in April announced intentions to legally challenge the Biden administration.
The original lawsuit attempts to abolish a question on a federal gun purchase form that asks if the buyer is a user of drugs, specifying that marijuana is still considered illegal at the federal level. When a user of medical marijuana, which is legal in 37 states including Florida, responds positively, they are refused permission to buy.
“Are you an unlawful user of, or addicted to, marijuana or any depressant, stimulant, narcotic drug, or any other controlled substance?” The question asks. “Warning: 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.”
The lawsuit points to the Supreme Court ruling that eliminated a New York law that placed strict limits on carrying concealed weapons in public, arguing that Floridians should be granted the same level of freedom to own a firearm.
“The defendants can offer no rational explanation for why federal law would expressly protect programs that essentially turn otherwise law-abiding citizens into criminals with no self-control,” the lawsuit said. “Such a contradictory position would fall far outside of any comparable, historical regulation in this area.”
Before taking office, Fried worked as a medical marijuana lobbyist and holds a $130,000 stake in Harvest Health and Recreation Inc., a cannabis operator, the Commissioner’s 2021 disclosure to the Florida Commission on Ethics shows.
In January 2020, The Capitolist first broke the news that Fried had failed to report large sums of cash from an unknown source. That source later turned out to be a medical marijuana company, forcing the gubernatorial candidate to file amended financial disclosures after her false income claims were called into question.
“Quite simply, there is no historical tradition of denying individuals their Second Amendment rights based solely (or even partially) on the use of marijuana,” the lawsuit said. “In fact, historical evidence shows that marijuana was considered a legitimate and legal form of medicine in England, America, and other western countries through the mid-Nineteenth and early-Twentieth Centuries.”
In campaigning for her eventual victory in 2018’s Agricultural Commissioner election, Fried advocated for the legalization of recreational marijuana. However, she hasn’t been able to make headway because of resistance to the issue from the state and federal governments. Although cannabis use for recreational purposes is still prohibited in Florida, a constitutional amendment passed in 2016 made cannabis usage for medicinal purposes legal. With 71 percent of the vote, the proposal, which was included on the ballot as Amendment 2, passed.