Brewer Housing Authority bans medical marijuana

By Nok-Noi Ricker, BDN Staff
Posted July 25, 2011, at 7:37 p.m.

BREWER, Maine — Those prescribed medical marijuana will not be allowed to treat themselves on any property owned or operated by Brewer Housing Authority — including Section 8 housing — the board decided Monday.

“No resident can use medical marijuana in our projects [and] if they do they will be evicted,” Executive Director Gordon Stitham said.

The ban covers both public housing units and privately owned properties that fall under the federally funded Section 8 housing program, he said.

“Any landlord or any tenant receiving public assistance under the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program will not be able to use medical marijuana in their units,” Stitham said.

Maine voters first approved the use of medical marijuana in 1999, and in November 2009 resoundingly supported expanding the law to include more medical conditions and the creation of nonprofit, government-sanctioned clinics and marijuana cultivation centers.

Registered patients who suffer from certain ailments, such as cancer, glaucoma and multiple sclerosis, are allowed to possess up to 2½ ounces of the drug and to grow up to six plants.

“You can have it, but you’re not going to bring it into our projects,” Stitham said, adding that applications for housing from medical marijuana patients will automatically be rejected.

“We’re not going to be able to serve you because of the medical marijuana,” he said.

Housing authority commissioners first discussed the proposed rules in March and contacted the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to get an opinion.

HUD basically said federal laws trump state laws, but added that local housing authorities have the discretion to determine occupancy policies.

In February, 14 states in the U.S., Maine included, had legalized medical marijuana use.

“The housing authority will not provide any exceptions for residents prescribed medical marijuana,” Stitham said.

Commissioner Marilyn Sproul decided to abstain from voting on Monday but did not give a reason. The other five board members approved the ban.

http://bangordailynews.com/2011/07/25/news/bangor/brewer-housing-authority-bans-medical-marijuana/ printed on December 20, 2014