Letters

Letters 04-14-14

Benishek Inching

Regarding “Benishek No Environmentalist” I agree with Mr. Powell’s letter to the editor/ opinion of Congressman Dan Benishek’s poor environmental record and his penchant for putting corporate interests ahead of his constituents’...

Climate Change Warning

Currently there are three assaults on climate change. The first is on the integrity of the scientists who support human activity in climate change. Second is that humans are not capable of affecting the climate...

Fed Up About Roads

It has gotten to the point where I cringe when I have to drive around this area. There are areas in Traverse City that look like a war zone. When you have to spend more time viewing potholes instead on concentrating on the road, accidents are bound to happen...

Don’t Blame the IRS

I have not heard much about the reason for the IRS getting itself entangled with the scrutiny of certain conservative 501(c) groups (not for profit) seeking tax exemption. Groups seeking tax relief must be organizations that are operated “primarily for the purpose of bringing about civic betterment and social improvements.”


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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