John Flickner - a wheelchair-bound cannabis patient - was recently forced to relocate to a Niagara Falls shelter on Thursday after being evicted from a federally subsidized housing project for using medical marijuana.
"Cold, wet, windy," the 78-year-old said of the trip from his Niagara Towers apartment to the Community Missions shelter in his wheelchair. "All I wanted to do was get out of the wind."
Flickner has been battling his landlords on his medical marijuana use since June, when an inspector discovered cannabis in Flickner's apartment and contacted police. Flickner was not a registered New York medical marijuana patient at this time. The officer didn't charge flicker for the cannabis but informed him that he would need to secure a prescription.
Flickner said he was unaware at the time that he needed a medical marijuana card to posses medical marijuana in New York, so he quickly went out and got one shortly after the incident.
"I didn't know about getting the card. I just knew it was legal," he said. "I wasn't hiding anything."
Still, the Tennessee-based building managers, LHP Capital, said Flickner knowingly violated his lease and a judge issued an eviction order on Novemebr 29.
"What really swayed the judge - the be-all, end-all factor - was a regulation which basically gives management the ability to impose this zero-tolerance rule regardless of medical marijuana or otherwise," said attorney Kevin Quinn of the Center for Elder Law and Justice, who represented Flickner. "If it's being used, they have that ability to terminate a lease."
Unfortunately, it's not uncommon to see cannabis patients being evicted from federally subsidized housing projects, according to David Mangone of the medical marijuana advocacy group Americans for Safe Access.
"It's really a clear evidence of discrimination, and medical marijuana should be treated like any other medication when it comes to living in subsidized housing," said Mangone.
A spokesperson for Community Mission - where Flickner is now staying until he gets new living arrangements sorted out - said they won't be doing anything to prevent him from using his medication.
H/T: Times Leader