ORLANDO, Fla. - As more medical marijuana dispensaries open in Florida, one state representative is warning users that they can face serious legal consequences if they also own a gun.
Rep. Cord Byrd is a lifetime outdoorsman and hunter and has dubbed himself the “Florida gun lawyer” in his private practice.
With his history and knowledge of gun laws, Byrd has taken it upon himself to make sure medical marijuana users in the state know that their medicine and guns don’t mix.
“(People think) ‘I have a constitutional right in Florida (to use) medical marijuana. I have my state-issued card,’” Byrd said. “And they’re not thinking about the Second Amendment implications.”
Speaking to Channel 9 via Facetime, Byrd explained that possessing medical marijuana while having or buying a gun can carry a penalty of up to 10 years in prison.
“I won’t say it will happen, but I will advise someone who calls me that it certainly is a possibility,” he said.
The prohibition is clearly explained on forms required when a person is purchasing a firearm, Byrd said.
Federal law prohibits any “unlawful user” of a controlled substance to purchase a firearm, and it doesn’t matter if Florida has legalized medical marijuana, he said.
“People are going to look at that and say, ‘Oh, I’m not unlawful. I’m licensed in my state,’” Byrd said.
The forms clarify that “the use or possession of marijuana remains unlawful under federal law, regardless of whether it has been legalized or decriminalized for medicinal or recreational purposes in the state where you reside.”
The rule was challenged in U.S. Circuit Court last year, but was upheld by a federal court.
Byrd said he doesn’t believe it is fair to force people to navigate the complex divide between state and federal laws.
“(It is) the choice of, ‘Do I get the medicine that I need, or lose a constitutional right?’ and we’ve got to figure this out,” he said.
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