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Pot User Shown The Door

Patrick Sullivan - April 9th, 2012  

ACLU PLEADS FOR COMPASSION

Korobkin wrote a letter to Wright’s company on Montroy’s behalf and he pleaded with the company to consider that federal law leaves the decision over whether to evict a medical marijuana user to the landlord.

“In other words, a landlord or property manager who exercises her discretion not to evict a medical marijuana patient will face no fine, loss of funding, or any other penalty,” Korobkin wrote. “There is no federal requirement that you evict Ms. Montroy for using medical marijuana.”

The ACLU urged Wright and his property management company to show compassion in this case.

There is a quirk in federal law that would make an eviction devastating for someone like Montroy, he wrote.

That’s because federal law does prohibit landlords of federally subsidized housing from accepting new tenants who violate drug laws, so evicting Montroy would effectively prevent her from getting into other federally subsidized housing.

“The way that housing assistance works is that it’s usually a combination of state and federal assistance,” Korobkin said in an interview. “I do know that she faces a serious risk of not being able to get additional housing” should she be evicted.

What landlords decide to do in cases like this could have wide-reaching implications.

While data is not available about how many medical marijuana patients live in subsidized housing, as of the end of January, Michigan was home to 131,483 medical marijuana patients, according to the state Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs.

‘BLAH, BLAH. BLAH, BLAH’

Montroy said she keeps her marijuana use to herself and doesn’t bother anyone else.

When she first learned of the prospect she could be evicted this time around, she said she attempted to work it out directly with the property manager, to explain that she’d already been through this before, but that went nowhere.

The property manager “said, ‘Well, our lease says blah, blah, blah, blah,” Montroy said.

Montroy said she cannot afford to move into a new apartment.

“If I had the money to go, I’d go, I’d get the heck out of here,” said Montroy, who said there are good and bad neighbors at the Elk Rapids apartments and she would prefer to live in a house where she wouldn’t have to worry about neighbors. But she can’t afford to move. “I don’t have the money.”

As for Wright’s offer to help Montroy find a place to live using state housing aid, Montroy said she is not aware of it.

“He hasn’t offered me anything,” Montroy said.

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