This week, Governor Ron DeSantis of Florida made headlines by signing HB 543 into law, officially making Florida the 26th constitutional carry state. The bill permits qualified adults who are 21 years and older to carry concealed firearms without requiring a permit. After such a significant change for the state, CannaMD is addressing the pressing concerns of many medical marijuana patients. Specifically, patients are curious about how the new bill impacts their right to bear arms while also receiving medical marijuana treatment.
Can Medical Marijuana Patients Carry a Concealed Gun in Florida?
The short answer is, yes! Adults with a medical marijuana card who meet the requirements outlined in Florida Statute 790.06 are eligible to conceal a firearm – most recently, without having to obtain a permit. Additionally, State Commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Nikki Fried, made a powerful statement in 2019 when asked whether the state would deny concealed carry permits (CCW) to medical marijuana cardholders:
I have both [a concealed weapons permit and medical 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.
Can You Buy a Gun in Florida if You Use Medical Marijuana?
While the state of Florida does allow for medical marijuana patients to carry a concealed weapon, actually purchasing a firearm is a very different story. This is where things get tricky. In order to purchase a gun, individuals are required to fill out a federal Firearms Transaction Record (ATF) and truthfully answer the following questions:
Are you an unlawful user of, or addicted to, marijuana or any depressant, stimulant, narcotic drug, or any other controlled substance?
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.
So does this mean that patients can technically conceal a gun in Florida, yet are unable to actually purchase a firearm? In an exclusive interview with CannaMD, Fried responded to this discrepancy with:
Unfortunately, I think that is a correct statement. I have the same issue. I have both my cards, and I feel like today I cannot purchase a firearm because of it.
But what about patients who already own firearms prior to becoming a medical marijuana patient. What about that scenario?
According to Fried:
There’s a gray area. Some will argue – and I would certainly advise people to talk to their attorneys on this – but some will argue that it talks about not just purchasing, but when you look at some of the other laws they say ‘possession’ of firearms, and then it’s up to enforcement. So it’s a gray area that’s certainly not verified. But it’s very clear about the purchasing of the gun.
Is Open Carry Legal for Floridians Now?
No, open carry is still not permitted in Florida. The latest bill, HB 543, specifically asserts that:
It is unlawful for any person to openly carry on or about his or her person any firearm or electric weapon or device.