Florida Agricultural Commissioner Nikki Fried announced on Wednesday morning that she plans to sue the Biden administration in an effort to overturn a federal rule that prevents medical marijuana users from being able to purchase a gun or maintain a concealed carry permit.
The lawsuit will make an attempt 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 medical marijuana user, which is permitted in 37 states including Florida, answers the question affirmatively, they are met with a denial of purchase.
The filing humorously comes on 4/20, a day in which pro-legalization rallies are often held across the country and is cherished in celebration of marijuana by smokers nationwide.
Fried, whose office oversees the regulation of concealed weapons, argues that the question violates the Second Amendment rights of lawful medical marijuana patients and interferes with state-sanctioned law.
Tomorrow morning I'll be announcing major action towards protecting the constitutional rights of state-legal medical marijuana patients. Stay tuned 👀
— Commissioner Nikki Fried (@NikkiFriedFL) April 19, 2022
Fried’s action comes as somewhat of a surprise considering that she is the lone elected Democrat official in Florida, and will be suing a Democrat administration just months ahead of a midterm cycle that features her inclusion in a bid for the state’s Governor position.
While the legal action could sour things for Fried nationally, she doesn’t care who she has to take on to tackle the issue.
“Medical marijuana is legal. Guns are legal. This is all about people’s rights,” Fried said in a statement to NBC News. “And I don’t care who I have to sue to fight for their freedom.”
Fried campaigned for the legalization of recreational marijuana in the lead-up to her election victory to secure the Agricultural Commissioner role but hasn’t been able to break through, facing opposition on the matter from both state and federal administration. While cannabis in Florida remains illegal for recreational use, medical use was legalized in 2016 by way of a constitutional amendment. Appearing on the ballot as Amendment 2, the initiative was approved with 71% of the vote.
In her official capacity as agriculture commissioner, Fried is bringing the suit with three citizens who have been affected by the federal rules. It names the acting head of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives and Attorney General Merrick Garland as defendants, NBC reports.