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Florida’s Top Democrat Suing Biden Admin. Over Rule Barring Medical Cannabis Users From Buying Guns

The highest ranking Democrat in Florida is taking on the leader of her party—and the country—over weed and guns.

Nikki Fried, the state’s agriculture commissioner and a Democratic candidate for governor, “plans to sue the Biden administration Wednesday to try to block a federal rule that prohibits medical marijuana users from buying guns or maintaining concealed-carry permits,” according to NBC News, which obtained a copy of Fried’s lawsuit.

“I’m suing the Biden Administration because people’s rights are being limited. Legalization of medical marijuana has been granted. Guns are legal,” Fried said in a tweet on Wednesday morning. “This is about people’s rights and their freedoms to responsibly have both.”

(The 4/20 announcement of Fried’s lawsuit against the Biden administration was not a coincidence, by the way.)

NBC reported that the “lawsuit targets a federal form that asks whether the gun buyer is an unlawful user of drugs and specifies that marijuana is illegal under federal law.”

Prospective customers who check “yes” are denied and those who lie “[run] the risk of a five-year prison sentence for making a false statement,” according to NBC News.

Fried’s lawsuit, which is currently Florida’s only Democrat in a statewide position, will be a significant impact on Fried’s own jurisdiction. In Florida, medical cannabis is legalized by the voters since 2016, and gun ownership is widespread.

However, it may also serve as a precedent in the hundreds of states where medical cannabis has been legalized.

Fried has been a champion for cannabis reform since the beginning. “I’ve always been pro-cannabis but didn’t really understand the movement [early on],” she told Chronic NewsIn an interview, she stated that her passion for science was ignited as a University of Florida student.

She won her race for agriculture commissioner in 2018 on a platform dedicated to changing Florida’s cannabis laws.

“At the time, we weren’t talking legalization, we were trying to still get medical, but they knew that I was in favor of legalization when the time was right for Florida,” Fried told Chronic News.

Fried’s legalization campaign in her gubernatorial race, which she started last year, has been intensified by Fried.

Charlie Crist (a former Republican governor and Democratic congressman) is her opponent. Both candidates have pledged to legalize cannabis for adults if elected, but Fried has called out Crist on his GOP past, saying in October that people have been imprisoned, and Crist and other Republicans “supported and enforced racist marijuana crime bills.”

Fried and Crist will be competing for the Republican governorship. Ron DeSantis, a potential 2024 presidential candidate who has said that recreational cannabis will not be legalized while he’s in office.

“Not while I’m governor,” DeSantis said in 2019. “I mean look, when that is introduced with teenagers and young people, I think it has a really detrimental effect to their well being and their maturity.”

According to polls, both Democrats and the incumbent are insurmountable.

“Ron DeSantis is motivated by money,” Fried told Chronic News last year in explaining the governor’s opposition to cannabis reform. “I think his motivation is more his ability to raise money.”

As NBC News explained, the lawsuit “is laden with political opportunity for Fried, who became the only Democrat elected statewide in 2018 when she ran on an unabashedly pro-cannabis platform,” with polls repeatedly showing that a majority of Floridians—like the rest of the country—support legalizing pot.

According to NBC, Fried “is bringing the suit with three citizens who have been affected by the federal rules,” and the suit “names the acting head of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and Attorney General Merrick Garland as defendants.”