Marijuana is quite a sticky little customer in our country, isn’t it? From the very beginning, the small green plant has played a (for lack of a better word) unique role in the social grounds of the United States, mostly as an illegal narcotic. Thanks to the efforts of counterculture and pro-cannabis movements in California back in the 70s, though, more and more people are starting to wonder if this little plant is as severe as we once thought. As a result, more states are beginning to legalize the plant for medical use (a reasonable application). However, despite state legalization, the federal government has still not budged on the issue. Likewise, additional issues begin to arise. Just ask 78-year old John Flickner, who was evicted from his apartment for using medical pot. Let’s take a closer look at the situation that sparked a media firestorm in the cannabis community.
Keep in mind that, under marijuana laws, superintendents or building owners have the right to enforce their own policies about drug use. However, the situation between Flickner and the manager of the Niagara Towers complex has gotten (ironically) a bit complex. At some time in recent years, Flickner started using medical pot to treat a 50-year old injury to his spine, and he is a 100% legal registered marijuana patient in the State of New York. All materials, including his vape pens, were purchased from a licensed dispensary specializing in medical pot, and his prescriptions were obtained by a registered doctor. So, here is where the rocky road of federal law comes in.
The Rights of Building Owners
Based on the network of federal law, which still labels marijuana as a Schedule-I (controlled) drug, landlords of housing facilities that receive federal support have the right to deny the admission of a person who is using an illegal substance (including marijuana). Initially, when Bill Clinton signed this law in 1998, people interpreted this as a requirement of eviction.
However, during the terms of Barack Obama, House and Urban Development (HUD) revealed that landlords in this category could make their own decisions on the matter. So, while Mr. Flickner is a fully registered patient, the landlords of the Niagara Towers had the full right to take action.
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