It's Official: Obama Administration's Public Housing Policy Discriminates Against Medical Marijuana Patients

One the many gray legal areas and conflicts with existing federal Cannabis Prohibition laws created by state medical cannabis laws and their protections for qualified patients is receiving proper media sunlight this week via the Willamette Weekly’s expose on a memo recently circulated to the residents of a ‘section eight’ housing unit in Portland, Oregon that informed the patients that the management company can legally discriminate against them if they’re legal, state-authorized medical cannabis patients.
Is this kind of naked discrimination fair? Does this kind of mindless government-created discrimination in a lame attempt to uphold a virtually unenforceable prohibition make any sense to anyone other than a government technocrat?
Ironically, the rental management company can’t discriminate against poor people if their elderly, women, military veterans, handicapped or minorities (or other resident medical patients that can lawfully use hundreds of thousands of other physician-recommended prescription drugs for any number of disease types and ailments)…but, the federal government and their well compensated with taxpayer dollars management companies can now legally discriminate against medical patients if they’re sick, dying or sense-threatened and a lawful medical cannabis patient.
This is another prime example of why 74 years of Cannabis Prohibition must end in America as soon as possible. Kudos to Human Solutions of Portland for continuing to respect Oregon law, common sense and basic decency.

This Bud’s Not For You
Tenants are told they can’t use medical marijuana in public housing.
Two of the city’s public-housing agencies have told their tenants they cannot smoke medical marijuana in their apartments and houses.
The warnings from REACH Community Development and Home Forward (formerly known as the Housing Authority of Portland) have drawn a line for the first time as the federal government continues to apply pressure to limit use of medical marijuana in Oregon.
Home Forward has started telling tenants of its 6,200 units that smoking medical marijuana in their residences could get them evicted, even if they had been given prior permission to do so. But they can use medical marijuana in other forms. The letter says the ban will start in November.
REACH has gone a step further, telling residents they cannot use medical marijuana in any form if their unit receives a federal subsidy or if they rely on a Section 8 housing voucher, also funded by a federal program.
REACH officials didn’t return calls from WW.
But Dianne Quast, Home Forward’s director of real estate, says her organization has been waiting for federal guidance out of fear it would violate state law if it denied tenants the right to use medical marijuana, or federal law if it allowed such use.
She says Home Forward simply decided to fold marijuana into its general nonsmoking policy, which it put in place a year and a half ago.
“We were stuck between two laws,” Quast says.
The housing providers’ notices follow a series of warnings to states from U.S. attorneys, including Oregon’s Dwight Holton, that medical-marijuana dispensaries may violate federal drug laws.
“It’s really disappointing, and I’m not sure, frankly, that it’s lawful or constitutional,” says Leland Berger, a lawyer who helped draft Oregon’s medical marijuana law and now represents patients and providers statewide.
“It wouldn’t surprise me to see more litigation.”
Marijuana is still illegal under federal law, and that’s meant federal agencies and U.S. prosecutors have been at odds with state and local governments in the 16 states and District of Columbia where the drug is approved for use.
Early in the Obama administration, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said the U.S. Justice Department would not interfere with medical-marijuana operations under state law.
But this year, the Justice Department signaled a change, telling governors of medical-marijuana states it would do more to police the drug’s use.
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, or HUD, sent a memo in January to organizations it subsidizes, says Donna White, national spokeswoman for the agency. In Oregon, those agencies run about 44,000 housing units, home to between 88,000 and 132,000 people.
In the memo, HUD leaves the decision to evict medical-marijuana users to housing providers, but it forbids them from granting “reasonable accommodation” for its use. Reasonable accommodation protects people with a disability from eviction—until now, that included anyone with a medical-marijuana card.
Home Forward says it won’t seek any evictions. REACH’s ban on medical marijuana in any form in its HUD-subsidized properties could mean users would be kicked out.
HUD also directs housing providers to deny applicants who disclose they use medical marijuana. For Home Forward, that means it must also deny such applicants for Section 8 vouchers, which subsidize rent for private properties.
“So we simply don’t ask,” Quast says.
Leland Jones, HUD’s regional spokesman in Seattle, says the memo stems from his agency’s efforts to clarify federal policy toward medical marijuana as states expand its use.
“It’s important that all partners receiving federal assistance know what our rules of the game are,” Jones says.
Some housing providers were probably confused before the memo, he adds.
Some still are. Human Solutions is a Portland-based nonprofit that accepts Section 8 vouchers, but officials there don’t know what the policy means for them.
“We are aware of the ruling, but it was unclear from our point of view whether it was imposed on us,” says Jean DeMaster, Human Solutions’ director. “As a result, we’ll continue to serve people who use medical marijuana as long as they have the marijuana card.”

81 thoughts

  1. I have a candle to light, There was a favorable ruling some months back for MMJ in New Mexico that the local PHA could not discriminate. I read it on this blog. Whether the AG supersedes this ruling I’m afraid that the alternative is expanding to the whole country designs similar to the one in Florida. I fear the consequence to the MJ public of that course.

  2. Some of you people kill me when your attitude consist of ” oh i understand about not being able to smoke in there own house is an ok rule.” …. How do you people define civil liberty, because as i understand it that when a person rents or dare i say owns a home than its there home and they should be able to do damn near what ever they want in there own home so long as it docent hurt anyone other then themselves.

  3. 51. Greg
    This idiot threw himself to the lions. The guy must not be playing with a full deck of cards. This only goes to show you how dedicated prohibs are. WOW!

  4. For those who smoke marijuana to relive their pain and suffering, no proof is necessary that it works. No proof is necessary that it makes their lives better. No proof is necessary that their government is lying to them and persecuting them for what is essentially a harmless act.
    For those who believe marijuana to be inherently evil, no amount of proof to the contrary will be sufficient to change their thinking. No scientific discoveries that marijuana provides significant medical help in numerous situations will be taken into account. No study performed by a major laboratory saying marijuana is more helpful than damaging will be accepted.
    There are few things more dangerous to a developing culture than a closed mind.

  5. “There are no Kings in America.”
    Everyone in government thinks they’re a fuckin’ King or Queen – but – I don’t see no fuckin’ crown on their heads.
    His majesty is simply telling us -“NO!” We are either going to obey – or – we’re going to pay the price. Who ever holds the power to repeal the prohibition of cannabis [a Genesist’s Faith and Sacrament] is “my enemy.” The enemy of my enemy – is still “my enemy.”
    You can call his majesty and his court “whatever” you want. You can regard his majesty and his court “however” you will. Just remember this – “The King simply and absolutely doesn’t give a shit one way or the other – what we the people feel or say. After all The King is the King and knows better – what is best for his subjects – and – is indifferent to the will of his subjects. You can’t deal with indifference. In fact – his majesty is proud of what we call him. But – his majesty has made a terrible error – a terrible error in judgment – but – an error doesn’t have to become a mistake mistake until his majesty and his court refuses to correct it.
    What we’re experiencing “right this very moment” is only “one frame” of a life long drama movie. If we do not want to see “today’s frame” appear anywhere in the future – we will have to pay strict attention to that “one frame” of today. What “today’s frame” reveals is oppression, suppression, and reprisal. What that “one frame” reveals today is that these unconstitutional practices are being effective. What is absolutely necessary is to expose this injustice in its array to every free American for their consideration. It seems that his majesty doesn’t know right from wrong. “The truth will over-come.”

  6. the reason mj is not legal is because the nazi republicans , organized crime, the tobacco and alcohol lobby stand to loose a lot of money. the nazi republicans and organized crime have always been one and the same.

  7. First of all Attorney General, Schutte, should not even allow himself to lie to us about the medical marijuana…Mr. Schutte, is very biased and prejudiced about medical marijuana, He felt this way before becoming attorney general of michigan…Being Biased, and prejudice against a bill that was passed by 63 percent of the voters and we dont even get considered. No way will a regular doctor, give approval for MM, even if he believes it will help a patient. my doctor says he believes i need the approval, but he will be black balled if he signs anything approving me.
    Is there a way the voters, can ask for a court ruling on mr schutte? Another thing. The medical marijuana clinics are not “pot shops”, as mr. schutte, says. The one i belong to in Bay City, Mi, has given jobs to those working there, where they couldnt find work elsewhere.
    Please someon, help us. I am 77 years old, and i have severe health problems, which i take medical marijuana to relieve. I was in the 1954 operation castle, Bravo shot, where i got a dose of ionizing radiation that left me with severe Anemia, and hepitas B, my liver was damaged too, and I cannot take even a asprin for pain, because it hurts the liver.

  8. 59. robert zakrewski
    “My doctor says he believes i need the approval, but he will be black balled if he signs anything approving me.”
    Certainly not by the American Medical Association – they approve of it – and the nurses do to. Who has intimidated your Dr.
    1). To make timid, make afraid, daunt. 2). To force or deter with threats or violence; cow.
    AND THERE YA GO! If “governmental intimidation” isn’t illegal [then] it damn well should be. If it’s not a matter of law [then] it’s a matter of individual conscience – and – free will. Government aka “The powers that be” – are intimidating “American Citizens.” This is against the highest law of the land – and – beyond. It’s not a matter of marijuana – legal – or – illegal. It’s a matter of “government’s rude display of power” – and – “VIEWER MODIFICATION COMPLETED.”

  9. Re 35, David762,
    I’m afraid I have to agree with virtually everything you write. I used to be an Obama defender. Now, I get disgusted nearly every time his wimpish face appears on TV.
    Yer right about his carrying on many of the policies of Bush II (aka Village Idiot); and you’re right that he fooled us all (it seems) into believing he was a progressive of any sort.
    I have to tell you, I’m probably more undecided than I’ve been in a long time as to whom I’ll vote for in the next election.
    Republicans? I’d give up smoking pot before I’ll ever vote for one of them. They’re the ones who got us into this economic mess with their de-regulation, un-paid for (and unnecessary) wars and tax cuts for the uber rich. (During all the Banking scandals, I kept hearing people say, ‘Looks like someone wasn’t doing their job,’ and I’d always correct ’em & say, ‘No, someone DID their job–their “job” was to look the other way while the Banks were scamming!’)
    So, I honestly don’t know how I’ll vote next time. I’m sick of Obama, sicker of the GOP, and don’t trust the Liberterians–half of them want to take us back to the days of people being refused service at restaurants, etc etc. Tea Partiers? I’d as soon vote for Captain Kangaroo.
    I don’t know, I’ll have to wait and see. I of course will lean toward someone who supports legalization–but that won’t be the only criteria. Hitler or the Weimar Republic? What a choice!

  10. 61. Puff
    “Republicans? I’d give up smoking pot before I’ll ever vote for one of them.”
    That’s bull shit and you know it. You’re not giving it up for anything. You might move to Amsterdam before you would give it up though.
    “I’d as soon vote for Captain Kangaroo.”
    You may have to vote for Captain Kangaroo my brother [but then] didn’t we have this discussion a couple of years ago.
    Good CDXX Communion – and – my best to you and yours.

  11. Amer. Gen., how you doing?
    Lol, you got me on that first one. Unfortunately, I guess you’ve heard what’s happening in Amsterdam–they’re not gonna sell to foreigners any more. What’s up with that.
    But you understand my point. The GOP cares about nobody but the rich. Tax cuts my A**. How many jobs did Baby Bush’s tax cuts create? Seems like I recall millions of jobs LOST. That’s a tired old mantra that that’s been disproven over and over and over.
    And, while I truly do respect your point of view, my friend, I hold NO respect whatsover for a party (a tea party) that wants to cut SS and Medicare, while giving the super rich even more tax cuts.
    We don’t live in a feudal system–just yet! Plutocracy is not my idea of Democracy. Money DOES NOT equal speech.
    Best wishes always

  12. 63. Puff
    To tell you the God’s honest truth – I don’t know what kind of a world we’re living in – let alone what country. The dust hasn’t even started to settle – and – won’t until 2012. All I know for sure is that Genesists declare a “Conscience Clause.” Everything else is incidental. We turn our backs on the present powers that be – and – their words fall on deaf ears.
    Well California has advised the feds that they will not enforce federal law – so – “We will wait – and – we will see.” In the meantime – we demand Scientific Conclusion. The truth is in the science. The pursuit of science is the truth.
    Stay well…Good CDXX Communion.

  13. Puff.
    I have come to this conclusion – a politician is a politician – and – the party affiliation is as about as meaningful and pertinent as tits on a bull. In fact they are all related by family. What we are dealing with is – “We are living in a class bound society.” Rank has its privileges – no matter how rank they are.

  14. Very well said. If the Feds refuse to follow the wishes of the people, perhaps SOME of the States will. (I don’t expect that all of the States are smart enough to do so.)

  15. 66. Puff
    Cal and 15 other states has got us to where we are today. Wait until some stars start falling of the flag.
    This fight has just begun.
    Best regards – Manny

  16. Revenue from marijuana would help keep people in there homes – all housing public and private.

  17. A working class person who can afford thier own home can use medical marijuana without loosing thier shelter. So poor people are penalized for using medical marijuana, they lose they’re shelter, thier home. So is the government going to build homeless shelters to accomodate the thousands of patients who choose to use medical marijuana? Is this the real objective of DHHS creating a list of medical marijuana users, it’s set up so that a person can’t get medical marijuana unless they go on a DHHS list to be able to get a medical marijuana card through them instead of being just between the patient and the doctor (the way it should be in respect to doctor patient confidentiality). So they will have the list of poor people to be evicted, most people who utilize the facilitating of government programs through DHHS, qualify for said programs becuase they are poor. Are we headed for a country where DHHS becomes dictators for the poor of this country, or are we already there living within a dictatorship. DHHS started as an agency which facilitated government programs at a local level. Just look how far they’ve come. Shouldn’t we all just wear a poor patch on our sleeves to identify us from the rest of the population. Next they’ll be gathering us up, placing us on frieght trains and bringing us to the prepared burial sites like the germans did with the jews.

  18. The cost to the government for health care in aroostook county maine is higher than anywhere else in the country, and even higher than all the new england states combined.(inwhich Aroostook votes on medical marijuana were greater for against it, than was the southern counties votes for it, that pushed it through) Here in Aroostook county Maine they didn’t want medical marijuana, and they still don’t want it. They stand to loose to much money that they get from pushing the pills to the patients on maine care, even to the point of distroying peoples health. Up here the health care system ( hospitals, clinics, pharmacies) they are all about making the money, they are not about providing health care. If a person chooses medical marijuana, they don’t make anything if the patient chooses to grow his own for medical use. Well I think it only makes good sense to look for the fraud where the costs are the highest, especially when the population is much less than all the other ares where the costs are lower even thou8gh the populations are greater. The scary thing is that the health care agencies(hospitals, clinics, and pharmacies) have been bleeding the system to the best of thier capabilities for so long, that they are deeply embedded and proficiently utilizing thier bleeding the system practices. About the only way for it all to be exposed would be to audit all of them, in order to get the overall picture of the bleeding of the system by the health care up here

  19. When it comes to medical marijuana uses for health issues; shouldn’t the laws apply to all the same whether you’re black or white, rich or poor, shouldn’t the laws apply to all, the same? Because they most certainly do not, and actually show favoritism to the well to do, which is unfair to the less fortunate. I don’t see any well to do people getting notices that they’ll have to leave thier homes and become homeless if they choose to utilize medical marijuana, like the notices they send people who are on subsidized programs. This is only one example of how poor people are treated with predudice in this country. There is no law against a man and a woman getting married, the working class on up, yet if two low incomed disabled people fall in love they can’t get married without consiquences. I’ve been with the same woman for well over a decade now but we will never be able to afford to get married because we are both disabled. We will never be able to share the same roof over our heads and share one home together(an american dream for only those who can afford it)Both of us being disabled means that if we got married we’d lose around $300.00 a month from our incomes. We’d actually lose money from our disability compensation if we had a joint effort going on. Most working class people or well to do people who get married and creat a joint efford on expenses are better off financially. Not so, for the disabled people in this country. I’m a disabled veteran and I served to protect the rights of the people in this country, from both foreign, and domestic enimies. I don’t think I would have served at all had I realized at the time that I was only protecting the rights of the people in this country who were fortunate and in good health, and still able to be employed. I paid into social security all of my life, and I’ve paid my dues. Now I’m on the receiving end of what I’d been paying for all those years, yet I’m made to feel that I’m less than others, just a welfare case, with a lot less rights than the average joe!

  20. Section 8 housing vouchers are provided by taxpayers and section 8 housing have many problems that are not addressed and HUD is short staffed so monitoring of this type of housing is not done. Section 8 housing isn’t good for the people in the position of having to rent them nor is it good for any community they are built. Section 8 housing was set up in 1937 (?) we’ve learned lots since that time about motivation, education and assessment of needs of individuals with no options because of no money. When you don’t have employment , can’t feed your family through no fault of your own, or if your an addict, or if you are a single parent, or if you’re an ex-con those are all unique problems that should be taken into account when providing for all of these individual needs. Section 8 housing only gives you an apartment, maybe some classes in how to shop and how to keep a bank account. it’s not the MJ that the problem it’s this will not help the majority of people get off vouchers, or live better. But it sure as hell is destroying urban areas close to MAX trains. Lack of safety and threaten life style of people living in SECTION 8 and those who have homes in the neighborhood. So quit your whining about lack of Medical MJ, I’m sure it won’t matter people that need it for medical needs and those that don’t will be smoking it and selling it as well as other drugs to make money so they can have the options that money buys.

  21. The government is forceing their cut of the pie through regulation. They know if your homeless you can not realy grow forcing you to buy or steal. The government wants you to pay for medical insurance and buy their meds and test. Freedom and liberty and justice have all been taken away from the poor in this country

  22. As a section 8 recipient who has been acknowledged as disabled and thus living in Sec 8, I find it abominable that the feds are playing with the quality and existance of lives over a trivial substance as cannabis. Medical patients are not to be perceived as merely pleasure tokers. We have serious issues ( mine is pain ) where *any* kind of substance is one that the feds have a problem with. I am greatly disappointed in President Obama to not have the backbone to acknowledge and have the compassion
    to differenciate between medical use and recreational users and housing vouchers. It is the unfortunate downward spiral of chronic disease that afflicts a great many people and they should be be afforded the best pain relief and quality of life despite needing housing assistance. However I can also relate to those that find overpowering smells noxious. I am very sensitive to smells although my landlord conveniently chooses to act against me.
    I understand there are steps that can be taken to curtail thos odors..since I don’t toke I don’t have that problem other than a greedy landlord making that claim against growing my own medicine. It would be really nice if the dispensaries made medicine affordable on a sliding scale for SSDI folks. However to be equal ALL noxious odors need to be addressed by landlords if that is the case or make a max. level of odors permissible.

Leave a Reply