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. “Thanking you in advance for your cooperation is a pipe dream.” I am thoroughly convinced that whoever thought this one up is “Lower than whale shit in the dead sea.” Louie from Vegas just said “Worm shit boz.” Someone is really picking a fight.

  2. It says no accepted medical use in the United States yet they call it medical marijuana which is legal under state law for medical use! If they don’t want to let people smoke in homes they subsidize, fine, but can’t they please just get their words right?

  3. It sounds to me that the notice is just saying you cannot smoke it. But as long as it doesn’t interfere with neighbors, go ahead and eat it. Too bad they can’t grow it though…
    I agree that people should be respectful and not smoke around other people, that includes govn’t subsidized housing in my opinion. I can’t stand second hand smoke, or moving into a home that smells like smoke. Granted, cannabis smells much better than cigs.
    Vaporize it instead.

  4. I supporterd and voted for Obama..
    He backpeddled/Lied on his stance during the elections RE:Medical Marijuana
    “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”
    I am very disappointed in this response by Obama administration – what is to happen to those of us
    who would rather use marijuana (a natural substance) INSTEAD harmful/addictive – man made drugs
    WE are not criminals – simply want relief to have management of chronic pain and quality of life..
    SHAME ON OBAMA!!!

  5. As a landlord & medical user of Marijuana i see nothing wrong with their decision . I have rented to people who smoke Marijuana & burns on carpets from lit joints happen quite frequently . The smell is also strong & unpleasent
    to those who both smoke & don’t smoke Cannabis . I’ve also lived and owned several properties in, Humboldt County . Several of my properties were right next door to ” growers ” houses & come the fall when harvest time was getting near the constant stench of Marijuana was overwhelming & unpleasent . Regardless of whether it’s medical or not i would not want any of my Pot smoking tenants disturbing my ” straight ” tenants with their stench of Marijuana .Everyone should respect everyone with their weed .It’s kind of like being poured over with beer .
    [Editor’s note: Your view makes no sense at all…especially as you claim to be a medical cannabis consumer. Why should the government be able to throw state-authorized and physician-sanctioned medical patients out of section 8 housing for following a medical regiment that includes cannabis. Does the federal government evict tobacco consumers? How about Oxycontin patients? Does the feds through out poor tenants who burn nasty smelling potpourri blends?
    “Stench” of medical cannabis growing? Hmmm….
    Busted!
    No medical cannabis patient views cannabis as creating an ‘unpleasant stench’ as most cannabis consumers love and appreciate the wonderful odor of both growing and dried cannabis.
    You’re not a medical patient…you’re a lying, rabble rousing anti-cannabis Prohibitionist.]

  6. “It’s important that all partners receiving federal assistance know what our rules of the game are,” Jones says.
    So, it’s all a game? Well, I want my rights as a citizen granted to me. They need to stop playing games, stop playing “big daddy”, quit trying to impose their personal rules and beliefs on me and stay out of my life. I wonder how we re-enact the Declaration of Independence and throw it in the face of the “leaders” in D.C.? I’ve tried giving it to them, but they always send a note back to me quoting all their personal views to me on the issue, or just ignore me and they don’t respond. I’m frustrated and I’m about ready to go light up a joint in his face to prove my points!

    1. Home forward has recently advised us that marijuana Has been decriminalized as of July 1st when in fact it was decriminalized in 1973 Has been legalized as of July 1st 2016 And of course there’s no using of the medical substance

  7. Capitol hill ignoring us is not working, But in 2012 we will ignore you! We will have a candidate that supports an end to marijuana prohabition.

  8. Medical/Marijuana is just like the gay movement, and they may go hand in hand. It’s the stigmatization, the discrimination, against otherwise convalescent users that drives this “war” persistently forward. As for the alcohol and pharmaceutical industry: it’s competition. Huge competition; and that makes me smile 🙂

  9. that just shows you how much money the pharmacentical companies are dishing out, because that’s who cannabis is really gonna put a dent in, everyone of their sythetic drugs could kill you and that’s the odds they rather play with, what a disgrace!!! that shit brings tears to my eyes. this is a sad sad situation, and it lets ya know what little respect theses people have for human life, it’s sad to see how racism is able to still run wild. THIS HAS TO END!!! with all the pass experience and research, i can’t believe this god damn govrnment. they’re really a sick pack of sociopaths.. we will never give up!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!NEVER!!!!!!!!!

  10. Since this is official now.
    Since AG. Holder went against Obamas’s loose promise of not interferring with state legalizes MMJ.
    Since Obama campaigned on “logic and reason” and “easing the drug war”
    Since Obama has increased DEA and border patrol budgets for the sole purpose of interdiction, and has given local and state police more money in drug fighting grants than Bush Jr or Sr did.
    When we can start to just call him a liar?
    To be honest I have yet to see some one as two faced as Obama when it comes to drugs and their use.

  11. PEOPLE were talking about the illegal law on pot it self, WE need to start there, make them tell the truth about why its illegal, OTHER then a LIE!! FREE all POT prisnors Let them WORK, tax them not supporting them in JAIL

  12. This is Really great because citizens of our great country will not stand for this nonsense. Once enough people here about this sort of treatment out of our government, things will be changed by the people. This country is more compassionate than our government. We just need to get these stories in the mainstream and pressure would be put on the politicians.

  13. P.S. to 1.
    But – you know what – “whale shit in the dead sea doesn’t give a big rats ass what people think of it.” So! what I’ve got to figure out is…what do you have to do to make a bad thing evil? Oppression with destructive power is a crucible of evil. Sadistic behavior towards one’s fellow man certainly qualifies as evil. Social cognition apparently has no value – and – conscience goes undetectable. What does this sound like? It’s all going to come down to “Good v.Evil” – That will be the “Final Judgment.” All else is idle weeds for the wearing.

  14. btw- JR isn’t a prohibitionist for sure. He could be a self-loathing cannabis user. THere are many of those who only smoke because it’s “bad”
    anyway– the laws are schizo and the federal policies are schizo. The VA now lets vets use it but they won’t let people use it in their homes…. weird

  15. Allen St. Pierre
    I think you nailed 6. JR to the wall with that one. It was my feelings exactly.

  16. After reading around I came upon articles in Reason (The Red/Blue Paradox) and (The Truth about Taxes and the Rich), the latter at this link http://reason.com/archives/2011/04/29/the-truth-about-taxes-and-the/1.
    “The top 10 recipients of federal money are New Mexico, Mississippi, Alaska, Louisiana, West Virginia, North Dakota, Alabama, South Dakota, Kentucky, and Virginia. The top 10 payers are New Jersey, Nevada, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Minnesota, Illinois, Delaware, California, New York, and Colorado. Rhode Island breaks even.”
    I wonder where the rest of the states fall in the line-up.
    It just seems to me that the people shooting their mouths off the loudest and the most about wealth redistribution and living within one’s means come from these states sucking at the teet of another state. Bachmann is from Minnesota, Palin from Alaska, but the others like Texas. I have to say this journalism could expands its reporting perspective. Why am I listening to Sessions of Alabama bleat against cannabis when some of the money collected by the Feds in California is being redistributed as a percentage to Alabama? In theory. In reality, too.
    I’d like to see some in-depth reporting from this perspective, and throw it in prohibitionists faces that some of the money they/their states get comes from cannabis revenues collected and redistributed by the federal government.
    Neglible, maybe. But, definitely something.

  17. I’m so mad at our government! They are deliberately beating around the bush to male certain they don’t look bad cause nobody has the balls(besides Ron Paul & Barney Frank) to do something, to decide one way or the other.

  18. I can understand not letting them smoke inside due to the fire risk and the damage that smoke does to carpets and walls, but not being able to use it in any form is just silly.

  19. Sixteen states have approved medical marijuana. I am sure many more will follow in the next few years. It is WAY past time to reschedule marijuana out of Schedule One! It’s funny when you demonize marijuana and also demonize poor people how you can take away any programs that poor people use when they LEGALLY use medical marijuana. I understand the reasoning of not wanting to support poor people’s housing AND their Federally illegal marijuana use. The logic fails me when marijuana is a better medicine then some of the regularly prescribed medicines. …..POST #6. The smell of good marijuana growing and or being smoked does not smell bad to people that appreciate it. A stench is the smell of rotten food in a refridgerator turned off. Stench is a dead possum underneath the crawl space in 104 degree heat. Cannabis growing is a very beutiful smell. I would put it up there with roses. The editor called you out…. You are a rabble rousing anti-cannabis prohiobitionist.

  20. Obviously, this is another rediculous and unfair rule for the sick to have to play by. I wonder, is there even one drug that is produced by the Big Pharmaceutical companies that carries a similar restriction?
    I think not! For me, this alone is proof of our Govt’s true intention regarding this matter! Their agenda is clearly not about safety or care of the citizens of this country. Throw the bums responsible out!

  21. @7 somedood: This country is slowly becoming the kind of world Hitler aimed for so, I regretfully have to agree with you about the Nazi’s winning… People like Lamar Smith is a perfect example of this that comes to my mind; him and Michelle Leonhart.
    But thank goodness, this war isn’t over yet. I’m still fighting and I know a lot of you are too. Problem is, they, the anti-cannabis crowd, use billions of tax dollars, law enforcement, and even the military in this war…

  22. @6 Editor – Right ON!!!
    This guy J.R. is a low life and assuming he really is a landlord, I wouldn’t rent from a bum like him! No Way!

  23. I am soundly of the impression that some corporate big wig got into the Obama administration’s back pocket and this is being done to placate big pharma.
    “The bureaucracy is expanding to meet the needs of the expanding bureaucracy.”
    — Oscar Wilde

  24. As a OMMP cardholder, I cannot believe what is happening here.. I am 23 years old with a near-crippling back disease that has left me disabled and in constant pain. My medical marijuana is one of the only things that takes the edge off of my sciatica pain and allows me to enjoy time with my family and friends without being doped to hell on pain medication.. I am ashamed that our government could allow people like me to be discriminated against because I simply choose to NOT become addicted to pain medication!!!!!!!!!!

  25. Trust in the fact that the Pres., who has done nothing, will come looking for votes again from our fine community, if he can stop laughing at us long enough…hurt and betrayed

  26. HUD allows banks to sell its FHA insured mortgages to Large multi national banks at a cut rate, knowning that many will fail. the american public bails out both. CEOs make millions, But you can’t smoke pot. What is you have an FHA mortgage? you can or can’t smoke pot? do they come by and check? God Bless American this weekend. Home of the not so free. I will be handing out my gifts from the land this weekend at a city fireworks display near you!!

  27. quell surprise!
    obama spent years building up a cover as a progressive democrat, between his role as community organizer, as an illinois state delegate, and as candidate obama in 2008. imagine spending a decade as a parishioner in somewhat radical reverend wright’s chicago church. but if obama had run in chicago as either a republican or a reagan democrat, he would have been sitting on the political sidelines in chicago, still …
    obama’s disguise as a progressive democrat began slipping while he was a us senator — and once in the oval office, he has entirely shed that persona, that image, Except when he is running for office again or looking to boost the roll-call of conservative reagan democrats like himself. his ‘base’ is the same as dubya’s ‘base’ — the haves, the have mores, and the almost have it alls …
    between the economy & lack of jobs, plus the continuation of most of the village idiot’s policy agendas, the democrats stand to loose both the white house and the congress in 2012 if obama isn’t successfully primaried.
    vote green party; vote for the socialist workers party, vote tea pot party; vote libertarian party, or even vote for the tea party — any such choice is better than rewarding an ambitious politician who’s treachery includes war crimes old & new, destruction of the constitution & bill of rights, and a perfect willingness to ‘throw your grandparents under the bus’ to continue funding our illegal wars … and our crony corporate kleptocrats …

  28. All this in the wake of thousands of Americans (representing tens of thousands more Americans) writing their representatives, and blogging, pleading with their leaders to be reasonable about marijuana.
    As far as I am concerned, all that the USA has going for it right now is medical marijuana. Take away medical marijuana and I am moving out of this police state.
    It is not just pot patients that are getting kicked by the government, but also protesters, and so-called conspiracy theorists, and airline travelers, and Ron Paul supporters, and the list goes on and on. At the rate it is going, in a few years everybody is going to be an enemy of the state. And game to be preyed upon. Just listen to Jesse Ventura, or Alex Jones or Gerald Celente. It is really scary how unreasonable and predatory the USA has become toward its citizens.

  29. Are people this cruel? Seriously, they use it for pain, so it makes the people who discriminate against them look like nothing less than sadists.

  30. If litigation proceeds, and the courts rule in favor of the plaintiffs, this might just turn out to be the mindless act on the part of the federal government that finally undoes the prohibitionist stance.

  31. I sent the auto-letter to my rep, but I’m going to follow with a personal email.
    The guy is never going to do the right thing, but at least he, or his staff, will have to hear about the chronic pain I have suffered the past few years, and the fact that I refuse to destroy my organs by using over the counter or prescription meds. And since this isn’t an MMJ state, I cannot try the natural alternative unless he helps.

  32. Another late Ap story how Justice Dept.isnt gonna
    soften its stance on medical marij.I can not vote for Obama.I will sit it out.

  33. This is the reason why something like HR 2306 is so important. The federal government, like it or not, is still committed to enforce federal law, whether or not the people agree with it. If we change the law, as we’re starting to get momentum on, then issues like these will naturally dissolve.
    We made alcohol illegal, and we made it legal again by modifying federal law. I’m not a smoker, but my mother died from breast cancer, and her father had parkinson’s, so I want to stop a person from suffering like how I saw them suffer, and I understand that full legalization is the only way to let that happen, and to cause, at the very least, a delay in the creation of these diseases.
    We need to talk to, and educate people about the realities of what’s happening. Despite the propaganda we’ve all been raised with, compiled with apathy among many people, we are still making giant strides compared to even a decade ago.
    So we should expect such opposition, and only let it enhance our initiative to finally change the federal law, cause even if we got every state to fully legalize, one could still be prosecuted on a federal level.

  34. YOU WILL LISTEN, YOU WILL DO WHAT I SAY, YOU WILL DO WHAT YOUR TOLD, YOU WILL CONFORM, YOU WILL OBEY. WE HAVE THE POLICE, WE HAVE THE MILITARY, YOU WILL PAY,

  35. Gary Johnson could do a lot more good if he ran as a third party independent. No he’s not going to win, that’s not the point. Say he runs and gets 3% of the popular vote, (if all pot smokers voted for him it would be closer to 20%). Say the elections like 2000 where that 3% could have made the difference in a nearly even split. The Democrats if they lost by 2% will see that Gary Johnson vote as 3% that should have voted for Obama, as the slightly less evil of the two parties. If the Republicans likewise lose by 2% they’ll see a 3% voter they might have gotten as a disaffected Republican. Point is you don’t have to have 50+ to get your way, all you need is enough to swing the election so both sides can see they would have won “if only” they had gotten the pot vote. Do it Gary, your going nowhere as a Republican and it wouldn’t be much better if you were a Dem. Hit em where they hurt.

  36. 36 is right, all these years of “pleading with their leaders to be reasonable” has gotten us nowhere. Begging never does. Instead of all that talk of violence and revolution and million stoner marches and jamming internet message boards how about we pick one Dem and one Rep drug warrior and very loudly put all our energies into their defeat.(see Bob
    Barr 2002) Also if we had a person to run as a pro pot independent for Pres and that person got enough votes to swing the election one way or the other.( see Ralph Nader 2000) Some politicians might then see the light and jump on the legalization bandwagon. Most won’t but they won’t want to piss us off either. That how you get your way in this country, Not by begging congress, of all people, to do the “right thing” As Winston Churchill said. “Americans can always be counted on to do the right thing…after they have exhausted all other possibilities”

  37. [quote]So, it’s all a game? Well, I want my rights as a citizen granted to me. They need to stop playing games, stop playing “big daddy”, quit trying to impose their personal rules and beliefs on me and stay out of my life. [/quote]
    … “Big Brother Is Watching” …

  38. What do you expect in a goverment that has its head up their ass all the time.I am sick of this goverment telling me what I can do.Sure move the sick people using medical mj, who is going to move in meth asses.

  39. Keep your medication on a need to know basis. Even though I am an abstainer, they’res no need to disclose your medical uses. Remember the bans on bhongs amid cries about lung damage from officialdom???!!!

  40. This is unbelievably “Big Government!”, the very thing that Obama said he was against. All I see is another Bush! Oklahoma recently put forth a bill to discriminate against those on food stamps or welfare, forcing those on these temporary social services to submit to drug testing and making the poor, already in need of financial assistance, pay $10 for the test, out of pocket!! Though, in Fairness (?) they are reimbursed if it’s negative! So if you’re poor, you’re forced to go underground again, even if your State has legalized MMJ, or Decriminalized the Drug! The Poor are forced to break the law, thereby filling our prisons, which has been happening for many, many decades! Come shout for Truth with us at Truth Fest 2011. http://www.truthfest.org. Let’s take back our power and find a voice in this fight for civil rights! See you there!

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