Maine PHA Reconsiders Medical Marijuana Decision


Six public housing residents recently were told by the Maine State Housing Authority that they would have to stop growing/using medical marijuana in their homes or will lose housing assistance. The board of commissioners voted 4-3 last month not to allow the use, possession, or cultivation of medical marijuana in apartments subsidized through its Section 8 program. It agreed, however, to hear additional comments at an Oct. 15th meeting.

One of the residents uses the drug to treat muscle spasms and symptoms of glaucoma and Crohn's disease. He had been growing the drug for five years, tends to his plants daily, and smokes marijuana throughout the day. On disability, he can't afford the dispensary prices and he can't afford to pay for an apartment without assistance.

Late last spring, an inspector reported to the Maine State Housing Authority that a subsidized unit had two rooms full of marijuana plants. That was when the MaineHousing board began to talk about its policy on medical marijuana. Before then, it was considered on a case-by-case basis.

Although all public housing authorities are required to deny applicants who use medical marijuana, those agencies in the 17 states where medical marijuana is legal are allowed to come up with their own policies regarding people who are already in public housing and use medical marijuana, according to a memorandum issued last year by HUD.