Once again, a major failing in the current model of state-by-state marijuana legalization has been exposed. In Chicago, the public housing agency has released a memo clarifying that residents may not partake in the state’s soon-to-be-legal cannabis industry in the comfort of their homes.
Chicago Housing Authority, which is the third largest agency of its kind in the country with over 20,000 households in its system, had this to say in a communication sent to housing voucher recipients:
“While federal law prohibits marijuana use and possession in federally subsidized housing, the CHA is working to educate and inform residents so they understand all applicable laws related to cannabis and federally-funded housing. The CHA will work with the City of Chicago as it develops rules and regulations in accordance with existing state and federal laws in order to ensure a safe and responsible implementation of legalized cannabis in Chicago on January 1, 2020.”
The memo was a reminder of an issue that has plagued many of the five million public housing residents across the country, of whom one quarter are disabled and 35 percent are elderly. Since many such programs are federally funded, federal law applies to the properties. That means residents can be evicted for consuming state-legal cannabis, even if they have been approved as medical marijuana patients.
Residents Face Evictions
Such regulations can be disastrous, particularly for public housing residents whose age or health condition leave them with limited mobility, and echoes similar restrictions on residents of federally subsidized nursing homes. In upstate New York, an elderly man was evicted from his public housing after authorities discovered he had been taking medicinal marijuana for his chronic pain condition. 78-year-old John