Permitless Carry Gun Bill and Florida Medical Marijuana
On April 2, 2023, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a new law that changed the rules for gun ownership for Floridians that want to purchase or possess a firearm. Some of the requirements that were in place have now been eliminated.
Many applicants, prior to this law change, were denied weapons permits. The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services has rejected over 4,000 permit applications since July 1, 2022. There have been a total of 2.6 million concealed weapon permits issued in Florida at the end of March 2023.
What Florida’s New Concealed Guns Law Changed
Senate Bill 150 and Florida House Bill 543 eliminate the need for a concealed weapon license. Florida residents are no longer required to undergo a background check, take a safety course, nor complete any applications. Residents who are barred from purchasing or possessing firearms due to other Florida statutes will still be prohibited. However, it is up to the individual person to determine if they may legally possess the weapon.
The other laws regarding gun ownership remain the same. That means Florida residents must be twenty-one (21) years of age or older. Unless a member of law enforcement or military service.
Restrictions on gun ownership for Florida residents convicted of a felony offense or dishonorably discharged remain. Individuals who have adjudicated mental illness or involuntarily committed to treatment are unable to purchase firearms. And any individual convicted of a DV (domestic violence) misdemeanor is also restricted under Florida Statute 790.06.
Medical Cannabis and Concealed Firearms in Florida
Regarding owning a firearm in Florida, has anything changed for patients with a medical cannabis card? It is something that patients are often confused by, and they want to know if they are breaking state or federal laws by possessing both a firearm and cannabis.
In 2022, former Agriculture and Consumer Services Commission Nikki Fried championed the issue. On April 20, 2022, Fried stated the federal government’s restriction was unconstitutional as “Discrimination unique to medical marijuana patients, and not to any other patients who have legal prescriptions for other medications, [due] to the federal government’s continued misguided cannabis prohibition.”
Federal law dictates that medical marijuana patients cannot purchase new guns while their medical marijuana card is valid. That is because new gun owners are required to complete the ATF Form 4478. That includes a sworn statement that the applicant is not using “illegal drugs.” There is no provision for patients that use doctor-supervised medical cannabis.
The new laws signed by Gov. Ron DeSantis have changed the steps that Florida residents are required to take to purchase or possess a firearm.
I am a Chief Marketing Officer at DocMJ, a leading provider of medical cannabis health services to qualified patients. I have over 20 years of experience in healthcare marketing and communications, with a proven track record of delivering impactful and compliant campaigns that educate, inform, and empower patients to make better choices for their health and wellness.