A new bill filed by Oklahoma Senator Nathan Dahm would allow medical marijuana patients to have concealed carry permits for guns. In most states, medical marijuana patients currently give up their rights to own firearms altogether when they apply for a card.
“Federal law still has marijuana as a Schedule 1 drug, so you are considered a drug offender if you do use marijuana even for a medical purpose. There’s a little bit of conflict between federal law and state law. This would clarify that, on the state level, OSBI would not be able to use that as a reason to deny somebody from carrying a firearm if they get their concealed weapons permit,” Dahm told News 4.
Dahm says that one of his constituents came to him with concerns about how he was worried about having to choose between his medicine and his right to self-defense.
“He’s an honorably discharged veteran, served in the Vietnam era… has some serious chronic pain issues, went to get his medical marijuana card and realized he might have to lose his right to self-defense. This is somebody that served our country honorably — a veteran, well trained in how to handle a firearm, understands not to use it when he is under the influence of that drug,” Dahm said.
Since this is mostly uncharted territory, there is widespread confusion throughout government agencies over who has the jurisdiction to dictate these policies.
The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation seems to be at odds with the Senator, suggesting that state agencies will still need to defer to federal guidelines.
Special Agent Meredith Davis says that because the government still considers cannabis to be a schedule one drug, which creates a regulatory conflict between state and federal agencies.
“Any illegal user or addict of a controlled substance that’s defined in the Controlled Substance Act is prohibited form shipping, transporting, receiving or possessing firearms or ammunition. Concealed carried is a state law regulated by your state, but I can tell you there are no exceptions under federal law for marijuana used for medical purposes,” Davis said.
However, Dahm disagrees and says that since federal law is in conflict with the constitution, the state legislature should have the final say.
“OSBI is a state agency. They’re a state entity so, yes, they are subject to the U.S. Constitution but federal law, if it’s in conflict with the U.S. Constitution or within state law, that’s where we have to address those concerns. We currently have prohibitions. You can’t carry a firearm if you’re under the influence of alcohol or hallucinogens, nonprescription drugs or even prescription drugs if they could have any sort effect or impair to your judgment or anything like that. So, this would include a provision in that to say you can’t carry if you’re under the influence of marijuana as well,” Dahm explained.
It does not appear that the bill will be up for vote anytime soon, but it does set an important precedent, as this is becoming a major concern nationwide as more states allow medical marijuana.