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Senator’s bill would allow medical marijuana patients to have concealed carry permits

OKLAHOMA CITY - A new bill filed in the Oklahoma Senate would allow those who hold medical marijuana licenses to also have permits for concealed carry.

"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," said bill author Sen. Nathan Dahm, R-Broken Arrow. "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 said the idea for the bill was brought to his attention by a constituent.

"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," Dahm told News 4. "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."

The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation told News 4 on Wednesday that medical marijuana patients can apply for a concealed carry permit. The agency, however, wouldn't be able to issue it.

Under federal law, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) said marijuana is still a Schedule I drug.

"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," said Special Agent Meredith Davis. "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."

We brought the conflict to Dahm.

"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," he said.

Under Senate Bill 959, there is also a provision regarding the ability to carry a firearm if you are under the influence.

"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," Dahm said. "So, this would include a provision in that to say you can’t carry if you’re under the influence of marijuana as well."

The bill has not been assigned to a committee yet, though Dahm said it will likely be assigned to a Public Safety committee.

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