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New Arkansas Law Allows Concealed Carry With Medical Marijuana License, But Don’t Forget Federal Law

A new law in Arkansas, Act 757, set to begin on August 1, 2023, permits medical marijuana users and their caregivers to legally obtain concealed carry handgun licenses, causing a significant clash with federal law.

This state law, initially presented as House Bill 1784, disregards an individual’s role as a qualified patient or caregiver under the 2016 Arkansas Medical Marijuana Amendment when deciding eligibility for concealed carry licenses. The law’s sponsor, State Representative Aaron Pilkington (R) of District 45, believes this upholds Amendment 98’s tenet that medical marijuana users’ rights should not be infringed upon, extending it to concealed carry rights.

However, federal regulations remain clear: using controlled substances, including medical marijuana, disqualifies people from owning firearms or ammunition. Furthermore, federally licensed gun shops must conduct background checks on buyers before selling firearms, and a record of drug use, even noncriminal, can obstruct a medical marijuana cardholder’s purchase. Federal law also enables denial of purchase to any suspected controlled substance user.

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