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Smoking weapons: ATF, state at odds over firearms, hashish

Holding a medical marijuana affected person card is now not a disqualifier for acquiring a gun allow in Arkansas, not that such a allow was required in gun-happy Arkansas within the first place. Regardless, a current change in state regulation has caught the eye of federal firearms officers who say the brand new regulation raises considerations about public security. 

Now, gun-toting medical marijuana customers could also be in a bind attempting to navigate conflicting state and federal legal guidelines.

Arkansas residents don’t really need a particular allow to hold their favourite firearm of their house state, however hid handgun carry licenses can be found to those that need them. The licenses might turn out to be useful for Arkansans who need to carry a gun in one of many states that does require permits. 

Final yr, the state handed a regulation to forestall the State Police from disqualifying medical marijuana cardholders who apply for hid handgun permits. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives wasn’t too completely happy about it. 

The center of the matter is that the ATF permits people who maintain an Arkansas carry license to skip a background verify when shopping for from a licensed vendor. It is sensible that if the potential purchaser has already handed one background verify, he wouldn’t want one other one. Besides Arkansas doesn’t disqualify medical marijuana cardholders anymore, and the feds nonetheless contemplate marijuana to be a managed substance.  

Mary Claire McLaurin, the vice chairman of compliance at multistate hashish operator Good Day Farms, mentioned the competing calls for of state and federal regulation have put the state’s lawmakers and state businesses in a bind.  McLaurin is well-versed within the topic after spending seven years with the State Police because the company’s regulatory counsel and legislative liaison. 

The allow challenge is especially tough to navigate in Arkansas as a result of the correct to be a medical marijuana affected person and to bear arms are within the state Structure. Such rights are thought of to be on par with each other until there’s a particular exception within the regulation, she mentioned. 

“You might be certain to uphold the Structure of the state of Arkansas in addition to the federal Structure,” she mentioned. “I believe the [Arkansas] lawmakers and the state businesses are type of in a bind till the federal authorities will get their stuff collectively and figures this out,” she mentioned.

The regulation in query is Act 757 of 2023, sponsored by state Rep. Aaron Pilkington (R-Knoxville). The measure modified state regulation to forestall the Arkansas State Police from disqualifying cardholders and to forestall the state Division of Well being from telling State Police who the cardholders are. 

Pilkington mentioned he sponsored the invoice after listening to from constituents. One, Pilkington mentioned, identified {that a} prescription for Percocet, a prescription ache reliever, doesn’t disqualify anybody from legally proudly owning a gun. 

“I by no means considered it that means,” Pilkington mentioned. 

The medical marijuana restriction on gun possession was hypocritical in Pilkington’s eyes. Some navy veterans use medical marijuana to deal with post-traumatic stress dysfunction, he mentioned, however the regulation prevented them from “having fun with among the liberties that they fought for.”

Pilkington wasn’t positive how the invoice could be obtained by his legislative colleagues, joking that Republicans would possibly hate it as a result of it was a marijuana invoice and Democrats would possibly hate it as a result of it was a gun invoice. In the long run, the invoice was fairly widespread with members of each events, passing the Home 82-5 and passing the Senate 26-3. Republican Gov. Sarah Sanders signed the invoice into regulation.

In October, the ATF chimed in on the brand new regulation. Marijuana is a Schedule I managed substance and anybody who makes use of it’s “prohibited by federal regulation from possessing firearms and ammunition,” its letter mentioned.

Joan Shipley, a lawyer for the Arkansas State Police, mentioned Arkansas can’t be sure that the entire state’s hid carry handgun license holders and candidates will not be managed substance customers as a result of the appliance for the license doesn’t ask if the applicant holds a medical marijuana card. Shipley additionally mentioned an applicant can’t be thought of a persistent managed substance abuser solely primarily based on whether or not the particular person is a medical marijuana affected person.

Arkansas isn’t the one state at an deadlock with the ATF over discrepancies between  state and federal regulation on hashish and weapons. Minnesota, Florida, Oklahoma and Mississippi are among the many states which have handed legal guidelines to guard medical marijuana sufferers’ Second Modification rights.

The put up Smoking guns: ATF, state at odds over firearms, cannabis appeared first on Arkansas Times.