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Incoming Commissioner Nikki Fried Talks Guns, Marijuana

Blaise Gainey

A day before her inauguration incoming Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried stopped by Second Harvest of Big Bend in Tallahassee to help fill bags and boxes with food for families. She took a break from community service Monday to address the media.

Fried wants Governor-elect Ron Desantis to drop an appeal to an ongoing medical marijuana suit. Attorney John Morgan filed the lawsuit after legislators implemented a bill only allowing edibles and vaping as a delivery system for THC and cannabinoids, leaving out smoking.

“I think that so many of our patient are needing medical marijuana in all of its forms and that’s in its purest form. And so who are we to be in the way of patient-to-doctor access and so the patient is getting recommended to have the raw flower then that’s what they should be getting and so I encourage our governor-elect to be dropping the lawsuit and to make sure that the raw flower in the purest form can get to our patients,” said the incoming commissioner.

The state is appealing a ruling a Leon County Circuit Judge handed down making a 2017 law unconstitutional. It implemented an amendment legalizing medical marijuana. Desantis hasn’t said he will drop the appeal but did say this to reporters Monday. 

“I think at the end of the day when the people speak on these things at the end of the day when people speak on these things we want to implement their will. I don’t think that that’s been done fully." Desantis continued saying, "So we are going to be taking actions with medical marijuana that are consistent with what I said in the campaign.”

Fried, the lone Democrat on the Florida Cabinet also spoke about gun permits. The department she’ll soon head approved more than 300 gun permits that were later revoked.

“Starting day 1 we are making sure that all full time employees are the ones reviewing the process. We are going to make sure that we have training manuals a lot of it was internal personnel issues. So we are doing a dive onto that seeing whether or not it belongs in law enforcement, whether it is FDLE or we have to add law here inside the department of agriculture so were starting to review all that. because the safety of our Floridians is first and foremost and what has happened in the past with the concealed weapons permit is not acceptable,” said Fried.

The National Rifle Association wants concealed weapons permitting to be overseen by the Chief Financial Officer but Fried says that’s a political move, "I think if we are going to move anywhere it needs to be with law enforcement. So I think it’s irresponsible to just pick it up and move it to another department because it’s a democrat that’s been elected.”

Fried believes moving the program under the Florida Department of Law Enforcement would in her words help take the politics out of the process.

Blaise Gainey is a State Government Reporter for WFSU News. Blaise hails from Windermere, Florida. He graduated from The School of Journalism at the Florida A&M University. He formerly worked for The Florida Channel, WTXL-TV, and before graduating interned with WFSU News. He is excited to return to the newsroom. In his spare time he enjoys watching sports, Netflix, outdoor activities and anything involving his daughter.