The answer to this is somewhat complicated due to the disconnect between federal and state law on marijuana. You may be eligible to use marijuana for medicinal purposes in Florida if you have a qualifying condition (such as epilepsy, glaucoma, Parkinson’s disease, or multiple sclerosis). However, despite the majority of states having legalized at least some form of medicinal marijuana, it remains a Schedule I drug on the federal level.
This can seemingly create a problem when medical marijuana patients apply to purchase a gun. The application you must complete before purchasing a gun requires you to disclose whether you are an unlawful user of a controlled substance. While you may be rejected if you choose to disclose your medical marijuana use on the Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosive (ATF) form, you may still be allowed to apply for and renew your Florida Concealed Weapons License (CWL). Your CWL application is overseen by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, whose commissioner, since 2019, is Nikki Fried.
While the language surrounding CWLs in Florida could be interpreted as prohibiting the permits for users of medical marijuana, Commissioner Fried has stated that she would not deny a CWL applicant based on his or her use of MMJ. She also stated that those renewing CWLs would not see their gun rights diminish based on their MMJ usage.
What is the Purpose of Having a CWL?
As long as you are legally permitted to purchase a firearm in Florida, you may possess a concealed firearm in your home or “private conveyance” as long as it is not “readily accessible for immediate use.” To be able to carry a concealed weapon on your person, though, requires a CWL. Florida does not recognize open carry of guns (except in extremely specific circumstances), so you must have a CWL if you want to carry a gun on you.
Getting approved for a CWL in Florida and being able to purchase a gun after filling out an ATF form are two different things. If you use medical marijuana and choose not to disclose that you are a marijuana user on the ATF form, you could be charged with a crime for lying on the application. While Commissioner Fried has indicated that she wants to push policymakers in D.C. on this issue, the law has multiple gray areas — meaning you should speak with an attorney before filling out a firearm application in Florida if you also use medical marijuana. Again, though, the question of whether you may have a MMJ license and CWL at the same time in Florida is settled: you may.
Many courts have ruled that the power to buy and possess firearms is not absolute. Those who lawfully use medical marijuana have had real-world experience dealing with this fact when applying for a concealed carry permit or buying a gun. While Floridians have good news when it comes to CLWs, it is highly advisable to speak with an attorney like Barry M. Wax when making other firearm-related decisions. Our firm offers free consultations to prospective clients. Fill out a form here to schedule yours!