Arkansas Senate Committee Passes Bill to Codify Medical Marijuana Gun Rights

An Arkansas bill to codify gun rights for medical marijuana patients that’s already passed the House of Representatives has now been approved by a Senate committee.

The Senate Committee on City, County and Local Affairs has voted to advance legislation that would amend the state’s gun laws to explicitly establish legal rights for medical marijuana patients. House Bill 1784 has already been passed by an 82 to 5 vote in the House, and if it’s passed by the full Senate it will be sent to Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders. Even if Sanders opposes the measure there appears to be well more than the 2/3rds required to override an executive veto.

House Bill 1784 would alter Arkansas’ laws related to concealed carry licenses to state that officials “shall not consider a person’s status as a qualifying patient or designated caregiver under the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Amendment of 2016, Arkansas Constitution, Amendment 98, § 2, in determining whether an applicant is eligible to be issued a license to carry a concealed handgun under this subchapter.”

The measure clarifies that a person’s status as a qualifying patient or designated caregiver is “confidential”, and requires that the Department of Health not disclose the identity of a person who has been issued a registry identification card to the Division of the Arkansas State Police for the purpose of facilitating a criminal history record check or any other background check related to the issuance of a license to carry a concealed handgun.

In addition, the legislation states that the Director of the Division of Arkansas State Police “shall not consider a person’s status as a qualifying patient or designated caregiver under the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Amendment of 2016, Arkansas Constitution, Amendment 98, § 2, in determining whether an applicant or licensee is eligible to be issued a license to carry a concealed handgun”.

The full text of House Bill 1784 can be found by clicking here.

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