It is Okay to Carry Each

As a muscular Second Amendment state, Oklahoma maintains an open-carry law for firearms. But when voters passed the state’s healthcare marijuana initiative in 2018, they unwittingly produced a new conflict. Oklahoma’s current open-carry law prohibited any individual openly carrying from also possessing drugs deemed illegal below federal law.

That statutory collision sparked anxiousness about the state, triggering fears that residents would have to decide on among one particular or the other, or face prosecution.

When voters passed the state’s healthcare marijuana initiative in 2018, they unwittingly produced a conflict with Oklahoma’s open-carry laws.

That angst resulted in a wave of new small business for lawyer Robert Gifford, a former federal prosecutor now in private practice. “As a lawyer I [told] persons, ‘This is the law, and you will be in violation,” he told Leafly.

But, Gifford says, the two databases—of persons with open-carry permits and healthcare marijuana cards—were under no circumstances cross-checked, and no one particular got arrested or had their card or open-carry permit confiscated.

For a time, Gifford recommended inventive techniques for persons to lower their exposure. “I asked persons, ‘Do you definitely carry? It would be safer to give up your [carry] license—not your gun—and maintain your gun in your trunk. Do one thing like that, you so do not run the threat.”

An Simple Repair

Lastly, in March, the state Legislature took the problem head on. The so-referred to as Unity Bill, which adds new layers of regulation to the state’s healthcare cannabis market, especially states that registered individuals will not be denied the proper to personal, buy, or carry a firearm solely mainly because they also hold a state-authorized permit to use healthcare cannabis. The bill passed the legislature and was signed into law by Gov. Kevin Stitt on March 14, 2019.

The language in the new law states:

“A healthcare marijuana patient or caregiver licensee shall not be denied the proper to personal, buy or possess a firearm, ammunition, or firearm accessories primarily based solely on his or her status as a healthcare marijuana patient or caregiver licensee.”

The new state law does not, of course, transform or address federal law, which nevertheless considers cannabis an illegal Schedule I drug. Below federal law—18 U.S.C. 922(g)(three) if you want to appear it up—a particular person who is “an unlawful user of” a controlled substance is prohibited from owning a firearm. So if you commit a federal crime with a firearm whilst possessing state-legal cannabis, it is not so superior.

Having said that, the federal background verify method made use of to vet purchasers at federally licensed firearms dealers only scans databases seeking for clear red flags like felony convictions. The National Immediate Criminal Background Verify Program (NICS) draws from 3 databases, all of which concentrate on criminal justice records. Most state healthcare marijuana registration databases are compiled and kept by state well being division officials, who do not upload information into these NICS databases. So if you are registered with the Oklahoma Healthcare Marijuana Authority and try to buy a firearm, your MMJ status must not come up throughout the federal background verify. What you decide on to voluntarily disclose on any background verify application is up to you.