Ron DeSantis Calls Federal Restrictions On Gun Rights For Medical Marijuana Patients Unconstitutional

posted on Jan 20, 2024 on benzinga

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said Friday that he believes there is no incompatibility between the use of medical marijuana and the right to bear arms.

“I don’t think that that’s constitutional, to be honest with you,” he said at a Friday campaign event in New Hampshire where the first Republican primary is taking place on Tuesday. “I think if you’re using a legal product, I don’t see how that can nullify a constitutional right.”

DeSantis was responding to a question from Marijuana Leadership Campaign lobbyist Don Murphy.

“If somebody’s using something that’s (a) legal product, there’s not anything in the Constitution that would justify doing that” ban, he said.

Federal policy forces cardholders to choose between their state constitutional right to medical marijuana and federal Second Amendment rights.

“I think that the only way that Second Amendment rights are (abridged is) criminal felony conviction and adjudication for mental illness. And I think those two are there,” DeSantis said, reported Florida Politics.

Cannabis and gun ownership was an issue taken up by DeSantis’s rival Nikki Fried, the former agriculture commissioner who now chairs the Florida Democratic Party. In April 2022, Fried filed a Second Amendment lawsuit against the federal government seeking to allow the state’s medical marijuana cardholders to purchase and possess firearms.

DeSantis’s comments on Friday may surprise some given his recent accusations that some of Florida’s 850,000 legal medical marijuana patients are using their medical conditions as a “pretext” to legally consume cannabis.   

Guns And Weed: What’s The Problem?

In 2011, the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Weapons and Explosives (ATF) informed all authorized firearms dealers in an open letter that anyone in possession of a valid medical cannabis card is unable to acquire a firearm from a gun shop, regardless of whether the state has approved medical or recreational marijuana.

Though the Justice Department has consistently supported the necessity of the firearms ban in various federal courts, several federal courts have challenged this stance, ruling the ban to be unconstitutional in some cases, which has prompted appeals from the department.

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