Many people have criticized the federal government for its archaic policies towards marijuana, and now those critics include an official from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
Over the weekend a story broke about a 78-year-old man living in New York named John Flickner who was evicted from his apartment for using medical marijuana to treat his chronic pain. The story generated some controversy, and a HUD official named Lynne Patton who oversees New York and New Jersey responded to the story. She said state and federal laws need to adapt to legal medical marijuana and landlords need to do the same. She then said that HUD has helped Flickner get back into his apartment.
In 1998 Bill Clinton signed a law that forbids landlords of federally subsidized housing from accepting tenants who use illicit substances. But evictions of people using illicit substances is left up to the landlord's discretion.
The Obama administration attempted to clarify the policy regarding marijuana. The administration sent out a memo saying the 1998 law “affords owners the discretion to evict or not evict current tenants for their use of marijuana.” Meaning essentially landlords can evict a tenant for using marijuana if they want, even if it's legal.
Patton's tweet suggests that she believes that the policy should be changed. A bill introduced to Congress by Democrat Eleanor Holmes Norton in June would protect marijuana users, both medical and recreational, living in federal housing if they live in legal states. The bill did not receive a vote, but it will be interesting to see if Democrats take up the issue when they regain control of the House next month.
(h/t Marijuana Moment)