TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — A Florida medical marijuana patient continues to insist that his firing from the Florida Department of Corrections (FDC) for off-site cannabis use violates the law – and now he’s taking his case to the state supreme court.

According to a brief filed in the Florida Supreme Court on Monday, Samuel E. Velez Ortiz is seeking another appeal from the state’s highest court. The First District Court of Appeal upheld the FDC’s decision to terminate his employment earlier this year, stating that “as a medical marijuana patient he is a ‘prohibited person’ pursuant to federal law to possess a firearm,” as required by his job duties.

Court documents state that a doctor recommended Velez Ortiz use medical marijuana to treat PTSD related to his military service. He was fired after failing a random drug test in 2021, despite having “an exemplary record” with the Department of Corrections.

Florida’s medical marijuana law states that it “does not require an employer to accommodate the Medical Use of Marijuana in any workplace or any employee working while under the influence.” Attorneys for Velez Ortiz argued “there is no evidence of suspicion of him being under the influence or possessing or using his Medical Marijuana during work hours.”

Attorneys cited recent federal rulings concerning marijuana and the Second Amendment that they argue contradicts the lower court’s ruling. In United States of America v. Harrison and United States of America v. Daniels, the courts held that the federal law prohibiting possession of firearms by users or possessors of substances under the Controlled Substances Act is unconstitutional as a violation of the Second Amendment.

The defendants in those cases possessed cannabis illegally, unlike Velez Ortiz, his attorneys argued, saying he would “never be in a situation to violate federal law.” They also cited a recent effort to reschedule marijuana from its current Schedule I status. Schedule I drugs are defined as having a high risk of dependence and “no accepted medical use,” like heroin and LSD.

Attorneys for Velez Ortiz asked the Florida Supreme Court to take up the case, as its opinion could impact hundreds of thousands of medical marijuana patients.

“The opinion by the lower court overnight criminalizes the possession of firearms for over 840,000 Qualified Patients and strips them of their right to defend themselves,” the brief stated.