The Arkansas Department of Health is warning would-be applicants for medical marijuana cards that they can have the card or the ability to buy a gun, but not both.
This warning came as Texarkana’s board of directors set forth rules and costs for establishing medical marijuana dispensaries.
According to NWA, the Ark. Dept. of Health is stressing that an individual cannot have “a medical marijuana card and legally own a gun because pot is still illegal on the federal level.” In other words, a resident licensed to legally purchase marijuana for medical purposes in Arkansas would still have to answer in the affirmative when asked about unlawful use of marijuana during a background check for firearms purchases.
Form 4473 of the background check process asks if the would-be firearm purchaser is “an unlawful user of … marijuana.” No one who answers “yes” to that question can purchase a gun. The basis for that question is federal law, rather than laws in the state.
The dichotomy between state-level legality and federal-level legality has been problematic for medical marijuana users in other states as well. On August 31, 2016, Breitbart News reported that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled that a ban on firearm purchases for medical marijuana card holders is constitutional. That ruling was issued in a case originating in Nevada, where S. Rowan Wilson was denied a firearm purchase “after obtaining a medical marijuana card.”
The Associated Press reports that while some states have legalized marijuana for medicinal purposes, this conflicts with federal law. Therefore, “the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives has told gun sellers they can assume a person with a medical marijuana card uses the drug,” and this means the cardholder cannot pass a federal background check for a gun purchase.
AWR Hawkins is the Second Amendment columnist for Breitbart News and host of Bullets with AWR Hawkins, a Breitbart News podcast. He is also the political analyst for Armed American Radio. Follow him on Twitter: @AWRHawkins. Reach him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.