Marijuana is legal in some form in 33 states plus Washington, D.C., but pot-related penalties still abound for those who are students, employees, businesses and public housing residents. Even in places like California where people are unequivocally allowed under state law to buy, sell and consume the drug for recreational purposes, those living in subsidized public housing or who use Section 8 vouchers face eviction if they test positive for the drug – even if they are prescribed it for medical reasons.
Housing authority officials cite the conflict between state and federal law, saying they jeopardize their access to much-needed federal dollars if they allow a Schedule I narcotic to be used in taxpayer-funded housing or by those receiving assistance. However, what our Los Angeles marijuana lawyers see is yet another example of double standards when it comes to marijuana law and regulation enforcement – with people of color in low-income communities facing particular adverse consequences. Coincidentally, this is the same population disproportionately impacted by the failed, decades-long War on Drugs.
Officials with the Department of U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) have said they do want “sensible” regulation that might legally permit medical marijuana use by public housing tenants, but so far there is no concrete proposal on the table. Continue reading