Letters

Letters 08-03-2015

Real Brownfields Deserve Dollars I read with interest the story on Brownfield development dollars in the July 20 issue. I applaud Dan Lathrop and other county commissioners who voted “No” on the Randolph Street project...

Hopping Mad Carlin Smith is hopping mad (“Will You Get Mad With Me?” 7-20-15). Somebody filed a fraudulent return using his identity, and he’s not alone. The AP estimates the government “pays more than $5 billion annually in fraudulent tax refunds.” Well, many of us have been hopping mad for years. This is because the number one tool Congress has used to fix this problem has been to cut the IRS budget –by $1.2 billion in the last 5 years...

Just Grumbling, No Solutions Mark Pontoni’s grumblings [recent Northern Express column] tell us much about him and virtually nothing about those he chooses to denigrate. We do learn that Pontoni may be the perfect political candidate. He’s arrogant, opinionated and obviously dimwitted...

A Racist Symbol I have to respond to Gordon Lee Dean’s letter claiming that the confederate battle flag is just a symbol of southern heritage and should not be banned from state displays. The heritage it represents was the treasonous effort to continue slavery by seceding from a democratic nation unwilling to maintain such a consummate evil...

Not So Thanks I would like to thank the individual who ran into and knocked over my Triumph motorcycle while it was parked at Lowe’s in TC on Friday the 24th. The $3,000 worth of damage was greatly appreciated. The big dent in the gas tank under the completely destroyed chrome badge was an especially nice touch...

Home · Articles · News · Features · Pot User Shown The Door
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Pot User Shown The Door

Patrick Sullivan - April 9th, 2012  

‘NOTHING I CAN DO’

Wright, owner of the Elk Rapids Apartments and their Shelby Township-based management company, Prime Properties Management, LLC, said he has been following a policy for two years to evict medical marijuana patients from his properties and he cannot make an exception in this case.

“If I start making special rules for her, I’d have to make special rules for everyone,” Wright said.

He said he has already evicted other tenants over medical marijuana use, though he didn’t know how many, and he said it has never stirred controversy. Wright’s company owns apartment buildings throughout the state, primarily in small, rural towns.

Wright said he wants to help Montroy and he recently extended the eviction period by 30 days, but he said she has been unwilling to accept his offer to help her find a new apartment.

He said since Montroy receives state housing aid, as opposed to federal aid, she needs to find housing in a complex operating through the Michigan State Housing Development Authority.

He said he would otherwise like to keep her as a tenant.

“The government pays for her rent. I’d like her to stay there, and I feel for her story, but there’s nothing I can do,” Wright said.

He said his “no medical marijuana” policy follows an opinion from the USDA Office of General Counsel that says landlords should not tolerate marijuana use. He said if he changes that policy now it would be unfair to his tenants who expect a drug-free environment.

“Federal law trumps state law,” said Wright, who is an attorney. “It’s still a violation of federal law if you have drugs in your apartment. If I make an exception now, I have no policy.”

‘AMOUNTS TO DISCRIMINATION’

Daniel Korobkin, an attorney with the ACLU in Detroit who is working on behalf of Montroy, said medical marijuana users should have a right to be free from housing discrimination.

“The people of this state said overwhelmingly with their vote that they supported the right to use medical marijuana, just like other citizens use other medications to treat their illnesses,” Korobkin said. “What this really amounts to is discrimination against medical marijuana patients who are doing their best to treat their medical conditions the way their doctor has approved.”

Korobkin said federal law and policies regarding drugs in subsidized housing come from an era when there was concern about street-corner drug dealers and violent drug users in housing projects.

The policies did not envision a law-abiding, cancer-stricken woman in her 50s who poses no threat to her neighbors.

Korobkin agreed that federal policy says landlords who offer federally subsidized housing may evict based on medical marijuana use, but he said the policy also says that landlords should examine the specific facts in each case.

In this case, that would mean looking at the hardship Montroy has endured, the severity of her illness, and the likelihood that she could become homeless.

“The only question here is whether a landlord such as Lori’s is going to recognize that her illness and her medical treatment is entitled to the same respect as anyone else’s,” he said. “This is a clear case of somebody who is using medical marijuana to treat her illness. She’s not a threat to socitety.”

Korobkin said he could imagine circumstances where a landlord might rightly want to evict a medical marijuana user.

“Maybe in some circumstances, maybe a medical marijuana patient is a threat to the area and maybe, in those circumstances, it is appropriate to take action,” he said.

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