LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - As we get closer to medical marijuana being available in the state, a lot of people have questions concerning a whole slew of issues regarding the rules and implementation.
One question that continues to be asked is how medical marijuana will impact the gun rights of patients in Arkansas.
Back in March, we talked with Nick Yarberry, who has been living with glaucoma for the past 16 years. Yarberry also has a concealed carry permit. He is one of many Arkansans who might have to make a hard decision when it comes to medical marijuana and their guns.
"I can either keep my safety of having my concealed or lose my eye sight and what good is my concealed carry anyway because I won't be able to use it," he told us in an interview.
But concealed carry permit holders are not the only gun owners who are affected by the choice.
Currently, the federal government still considers marijuana a Schedule I drug. That means, under federal law, legal gun owners are prohibited to use medical marijuana. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms said that law applies to potential medical marijuana patients regardless if "the state has passed legislation authorizing marijuana use for medicinal purposes."
Travis Story with the Medical Marijuana Commission agreed that the issue is complicated, but he does think the issue needs to be addressed.
"If we're going to allow people to have medical marijuana in Arkansas, I also think there's a constitutional right to bears arms," Story said.
In September 2016, the Washington Post reported that a federal appeals court ruled that the federal law restricting medical marijuana use and gun ownership did not violate a person's Second Amendment rights. The judges ruled that marijuana has been previously connected to "irrational or unpredictable behavior."
While the law remains clear, gun owners who wish to use medical marijuana are hoping for a change.
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