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How Marijuana Users Are Being Shut Out of Public Housing

While medical marijuana may be legal in certain states, it remains illegal at the federal level. This contradiction can lead to many repercussions, and one of the big ones revolves around housing.

Vice recently catalogued how people who can end up homeless if they use medical marijuana and rely on public housing assistance from the federal government. The federal government has a program called Section 8 that provides vouchers so low-income individuals can afford their rent. Unfortunately, if people reveal in their Section 8 applications that they use marijuana, they'll be denied the assistance. And if they lie about their marijuana use, their can be repercussions if they're caught.

This is particularly problematic considering how many people live in areas with legal forms of marijuana. 30 states have legalized medical and/or recreational marijuana, and around two-thirds of the American population lives in these 30 states. So a vast majority of the country could lose their rights to subsidized federal housing for taking part in something that's perfectly legal where they live.

It's also worth noting that many states are now allowing medical marijuana use for people with opioid addictions. Hypothetically these policies would force someone trying to kick their opioid addiction onto the streets because they're attempting to use medical marijuana to get rid of their problem.

The federal government also isn't likely to change its position anytime soon. The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) made the policy to deny people who use medical marijuana from public assistance back in 2011, when there were only 14 states with medical marijuana and 0 with recreational. HUD says the 2011 policy will remain the policy unless Congress passes a law to change it.

So the federal government is perfectly okay with forcing people into homelessness for doing something legal where they live. And people say marijuana destroys lives?

(h/t Vice)


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