Florida’s Republican Governor Ron DeSantis says he believes the Federal ban on cannabis users owning guns is unconstitutional.
To the surprise of many, given his previous record on cannabis, DeSantis told the audience at a campaign event in New Hampshire on Friday: ‘I think if you’re using a legal product, I don’t see how that can nullify a constitutional right’.
Since 2011, all gun shops across the US have been told by the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Weapons and Explosives (ATF) not to sell guns to anyone known to consume cannabis, regardless of whether recreational or medical cannabis has been legalised in the state.
“I don’t think that’s constitutional to be honest with you,” DeSantis explained.
“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. If somebody’s using something that’s a legal product, there’s not anything in the constitution that would justify doing that.”
As Business of Cannabis has reported previously, DeSantis political record on cannabis has been inconsistent, but largely hostile to date.
In December last year, a CNN report revealed that DeSantis had been courted by some of the biggest medical cannabis companies in Florida, seeing Trulieve donate $50,000 to the Florida GOP which helped pay for his campaign ads.
The company subsequently posted record profits after DeSantis signed his first bill into law in 2018, legalising smokeable medical cannabis in the state, citing the introduction of smokeable flower in Florida, accounting for 50% of its sales in the state.
However, throughout his Presidential election campaign, which officially ended last week, DeSantis has been very hostile to adult-use legalisation in his state.
In August 2023, when asked whether he would ‘go along with the cannabis industry’ and legalise at a federal level if elected, DeSantis stuck to his hardline stance, making a number of unsubstantiated claims about the impact of legalisation on other states.
Responding to an attendee who said they knew people who have been impacted by cannabis induced psychosis, DeSantis said that the growing potency of cannabis was a ‘real, real problem’.
“I think when kids get on that, I think it causes a lot of problems and then, of course, you know, they can throw fentanyl in any of this stuff now.”