Arkansas Lawmakers Pass A Bill To Protect The Right Of People Who Use Medical Marijuana To Carry Guns!

Arkansas Lawmakers Pass A Bill To Protect The Right Of People Who Use Medical Marijuana To Carry Guns!

A bill that would make it clear that those who use medical marijuana can get concealed carry permits for weapons has been adopted in committee by Arkansas lawmakers.

On Thursday, the House Judiciary Committee approved the proposal from Rep. Aaron Pilkington (R) by voice vote, sending it to the full House.

According to the law, a person’s eligibility for the state’s medical cannabis program cannot be taken into account when deciding whether to grant them a license to carry a concealed firearm.

The state statute would also be changed to make it clear that taking part in the medical marijuana program does not equate to being a regular or chronic user of a restricted substance, which may otherwise exclude someone from being eligible for a concealed carry permit.

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Arkansas Lawmakers Pass A Bill To Protect The Right Of People Who Use Medical Marijuana To Carry Guns!

In any investigation into a person’s eligibility for concealed carry, the state Department of Health (DOH) would be prohibited from disclosing a person’s patient status to the state police.

More than 1,000 marijuana, psychedelics, and drug policy bills are being tracked by Marijuana Moment in state legislatures and Congress this year. Patreon supporters who pledge at least $25 per month have access to our interactive maps, charts, and hearing calendar so they won’t miss any developments. Learn more about our marijuana bill tracker and join Patreon to get access.

Notwithstanding the fact that some jurisdictions have taken steps to more comprehensively protect handgun rights for cannabis patients and consumers, this law is more specifically focused on the concealed carry issue.

Although a witness at the Thursday shearings claimed that some state forms still include a question requesting information about medical cannabis, the voter-approved constitutional amendment that legalized medical cannabis in Arkansas already stipulates that people will not be treated unfairly because they are patients. The law would make the situation clear.

Although a permit is not necessary to carry a concealed weapon in the state of Arkansas, some gun owners there prefer to have one for the security it can offer when crossing state lines and for the clarity, it may offer when dealing with law enforcement.

In November, Arkansas voters rejected a ballot proposition that would have further legalized marijuana for adults.

The new Arkansas law focusing on patients comes at a time when at least two federal courts are currently debating the subject of firearms rights for cannabis users.

In one ongoing litigation challenging the government’s prohibition against medicinal marijuana users owning weapons, the U.S. Department of Justice recently submitted a brief to a federal appeals court.

Many of the Department of Justice’s arguments are repeated in earlier papers in the case, including in a federal district court that dismissed the case that the plaintiffs are currently appealing. The Biden administration, however, has emphasized again in the most recent brief the wide-ranging effects that a decision in the plaintiffs’ favor would have.

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Arkansas Lawmakers Pass A Bill To Protect The Right Of People Who Use Medical Marijuana To Carry Guns!

In the meantime, a different federal court independently determined in February that the prohibition against marijuana users owning firearms is unconstitutional in a case that is also currently on appeal.

The push to lift the federal prohibition on marijuana use, according to supporters, isn’t really about boosting gun rights in general. Instead, the issues at hand are those of constitutionality and public safety.

The Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives Bureau (ATF) requirement, according to those who support the Florida case, effectively incentivizes cannabis users to either lie on the application, purchase a firearm on the black market, or simply give up their right to keep and bear guns.

Because that the state’s cannabis laws had made it easier for regular marijuana users and other prohibited people to purchase firearms illegally, the ATF released a guidance in 2020 especially targeting Michigan that mandates gun vendors conduct federal background checks on all unlicensed gun buyers.

A Republican Pennsylvania senator recently urged law enforcement to take action to remove state restrictions on gun ownership for cannabis consumers, particularly on medical marijuana patients, in light of the federal court’s February finding that the federal ban is unconstitutional.

In Maryland, a significant House committee also held a hearing in February on a proposal to safeguard firearms rights for the state’s medical marijuana users.

In the meantime, a Republican lawmaker introduced a bill in January that would permit people using medical marijuana to buy and own firearms. The proposal was made in the 116th Congress as well, although it was not eventually passed.


Mohit Kumar

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