I’m not a doctor, but I’ve watched lots of Grey’s Anatomy. Would you trust me to give you sound medical advice or write you a prescription? Probably not. But apparently some doctors think they’re qualified to give legal advice.
Maybe they binge-watched Law and Order or stayed at a Holiday Inn Express. I don’t know. But, sadly, people will rely on their bad legal advice – just because they’re doctors. And perhaps also because it’s what they want to hear.
I’ve written several articles about guns and marijuana, so my professional curiosity made me read this article. From the first sentence, I could tell it was heavily biased – marijuana is the Holy Grail, Hallelujah! That was fine – I personally don’t care about pot one way or the other. But it made me quickly scroll to the bottom to see who wrote the article… a medical marijuana doctor. Hmm.
The part of the article that made the hairs on my neck stand up was this:
Many people wanting medical marijuana avoid it because they fear they might not be able to own guns. This is not true. You can own guns and in fact have a concealed carry permit in Florida and have a medical marijuana card, no problem.
As an actual Florida lawyer who takes an avid interest in gun law, I can tell you that the last sentence is legally false.
I’ve written and presented about this over and over again, but people who have a vested interest in peddling pot keep telling the same lies to people who want to believe those lies.
I’ll break it down very simply:
- Federal laws trump state laws when it comes to drugs. Under federal law, marijuana of any kind is a Schedule I drug – totally illegal. Florida and some other states have chosen to look the other way within their borders, but that doesn’t change the federal law.
- Federal laws trump state laws when it comes to guns. Under federal law (18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(3)), you cannot possess a gun if you are a user of an illegal drug (pot, heroin, meth, crack, etc.) – or an abuser or illegal user of a legal drug (taking your spouse’s prescription meds, abusing prescription opioids, etc.). A federally-licensed gun dealer makes you swear on a form that you don’t do any of that, and even private sellers cannot legally sell to anyone they suspect may fall into any of those or other prohibited categories. States can be more restrictive, but they can’t override the federal gun laws. You must comply with all the federal gun laws first, and then comply with the state gun laws.
- Florida’s concealed carry licensing statute specifically states in Fla. Stat. 790.06(2)(n) that you can’t get a concealed carry license if you’re prohibited from owning guns under any federal law. Logically, that would also mean that you cannot keep your concealed carry license and carry a gun (you could carry a concealed knife) – if you use medical or recreational pot.
Bottom line? If you choose to use medical or recreational marijuana, you’re prohibited from possessing guns under federal law. And having a concealed carry license for something you’re not allowed to have makes no sense.
Will you get caught? Who knows. We weigh that risk every time we choose to break any law. But keep in mind that the penalties are steep – they’re felonies. And yes, I realize that our own Dept. of Agriculture Commissioner is flagrantly breaking state and federal laws by telling medical marijuana users that they can have a concealed carry license. But that doesn’t make it legal.
Remember…when seeking medical advice, ask a doctor. When seeking legal advice, ask a lawyer. And also remember that Google is neither.