During the last couple of years of writing this column, I’ve been asked one question probably more than any other, and it’s a question I haven’t really been able to get a firm answer to. That question relates to the uncertain dynamic between medical marijuana and guns. Specifically, is it possible to be licensed to legally possess both in this state? It’s a big question here in Florida, where a gun may be the only thing more popular than drugs (well, that and football).
In response to the conundrum of cannabis and concealed carry, the short answer is, to quote the beloved Björk, “possibly maybe.” I’ve spoken to a number of people, particularly within our veteran community, who claim to have successfully obtained both. Typically, these folks had their gun permits long before medical marijuana became legal in January 2017 and then obtained medical cards to treat the various maladies and misfortunes attendant to their former careers. At the same time, I’ve heard from others who have had their applications for one or the other denied.
Along with seniors, vets have done more than any other group to legitimize the legality of leafy greens in the modern era, and this is yet another area in which they are driving the narrative. One thing is clear, though: Active-duty military are still prohibited from using or possessing the stuff, in any form and for any reason. This also applies to the National Guard, even though they’re not really classified as full-time military. A lot of this is due to federal law, which still classifies cannabis as a Schedule I narcotic. So even though citizens can have it here, Florida’s gun laws require adherence to federal mandates—and that means no weed with your weapons.
Technically, you can have both. Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried, whose office oversees both categories, told the media, “I have both, 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.” Local authorities such as the Jacksonville Sherriff’s Office and Florida Department of Law Enforcement would probably raise no objection (especially if you’re white), but any dealings you have with ATF or the FBI will result in termination of your gun rights.
It’s probably best to get your gun permit before your medical card, as going in the opposite order would require you to lie on the application—a federal offense. Likewise, folks living in HUD’s Section 8 housing are also prohibited from puffing on that piff. Piffle? Sure, but rules are rules, and until the issue is dealt with on a federal level (which will not happen until at least next year, and probably never at all), you’re screwed (and not in the good way). You may just have to choose between your guns and your drugs, which is a difficult choice for any true Floridian to make.