Nikki Fried (D), Florida's Commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Services recently filed a lawsuit against the Biden administration to emphasize the issue of medical cannabis patients and their Second Amendment right to purchase and possess firearms.
Known for her alignment with the marijuana reform movement, Fried continues to push for the cause, now more than ever as she aspires to become the first female governor of the Sunshine State.
“Everyone knows that legalization is inevitable,” Fried said in an op-ed published by Marijuana Moment on Monday, highlighting the discrepancies between state and federal cannabis policies, which seem to be widening.
“The existing discrepancies between state and federal cannabis policies is creating a system of winners and losers, stifling economic opportunity, punishing patients, and allowing the inequities created by the failed War on Drugs to continue to wreak havoc on Black, Brown and low-income communities,” Fried wrote.
A recent analysis of the Congressional Research Service (CRS) confirms Fried’s statement.
The CRS considered everything from banking challenges to trafficking trends in an attempt to fully grasp the status quo, which “creates unique consequences for individuals who act in compliance with state law but violate federal law,” wrote the CRS. “The gap between federal marijuana law and federal enforcement policy and the issues it creates continue each year.”
Debate On Marijuana & Firearms - Fried's Lawsuit
Touching on the issue of the federal lawsuit she recently filed, Fried said her goal is to bring “attention to just one of the many ways in which the federal government’s inconsistent and illogical cannabis policies are creating not only confusion but actual harm.”
The official stressed that the constitutional rights of state-legal medical marijuana patients in Florida are constrained because of the current language on a federal form that prohibits them from buying a firearm.
“This is in no way about challenging the federal government’s right to enact reasonable gun regulations to protect the public, as I remain a staunch advocate for more common-sense gun violence prevention measures,” she explained.
Though putting gun rights issues with cannabis advocacy in the same basket has raised some doubts among the prevention community, Fried recently held a meeting with gun violence prevention activists to give further insights on the issue.
“When I came into office, I made a commitment that my department would make sure a thorough background check was conducted for every single concealed weapon applicant—something the previous administration failed to do—and we have met and kept that promise,” she said.
When Fred Guttenberg, whose daughter Jaime was killed in the 2018 Parkland mass shooting, first read about Fried’s lawsuit, his “initial instinct was not to understand what the commissioner was doing.”
After a phone call with her, Guttenberg had a clearer picture of Fried’s intentions, he told Marijuana Moment in a phone interview.
Fried “wants to bring all legal, lawful people into the process of having a background check” to buy a firearm, “and, candidly, I support that,” Guttenberg said.
Photo: Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons, Florida Department of Agriculture.
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