Nikki Fried, the outgoing agriculture commissioner in Florida, has said that she is going to appeal against the dismissal of a case she filed earlier this year regarding the gun rights of patients registered with the state’s medical marijuana program. In that suit, she and the plaintiffs argued that it was wrong for medical cannabis patients to be denied the right to buy and own firearms.
This was a violation of second amendment rights, the lawsuit argued. However, the presiding judge, Allen Winsor, dismissed the case arguing that federal law took precedence over state law and that the voter measure that was approved in 2016 couldn’t legalize what the federal government still deemed illegal.
The Department of Justice had submitted, in its defense, that federal law was clear on which categories of people aren’t allowed to purchase or own firearms. That includes individuals who use drugs that are prohibited by federal law, such as marijuana.
The judge wrote that while Floridians think that they legalized the medical use of marijuana in 2016, they actually did not since a state cannot override what federal law stipulates. The court was therefore of the opinion that registered medical marijuana patients cannot say their second amendment rights are being violated when it is clear that these individuals aren’t allowed to buy firearms since they consume a substance or drug that is illegal under federal law.
Fried has vowed to appeal against this court decision. It should be noted that Fried is the only Democrat to have been elected by the entire state. She is the agriculture commissioner of the state but is set to relinquish her office after she participated in, and lost, the race to be governor of the state. She has distinguished herself as a committed advocate of medical marijuana and had vowed to use her office as governor (if elected) to push for ending marijuana prohibition in the state.
This case in Florida is an example of the disconnect between federal law and state-level policies. Many other states that have legalized marijuana in some way also have similar contradictions, and the lawsuit in Florida is likely to be followed with a keen eye by advocates elsewhere alongside marijuana industry actors such as American Cannabis Partners, since its outcome could either encourage similar lawsuits to be instituted in other states or place a speed bump in the way of those working to chip away at the different manifestations of prohibitionist laws and policies.
NOTE TO INVESTORS: The latest news and updates relating to American Cannabis Partners are available in the company’s newsroom at https://cnw.fm/ACP
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