Sep 1, 2015

The clash between disability law, medical marijuana law and criminal law--what gives?

In a case of first impression the District Court of the Eastern District of Michigan ruled that a recipient of a legal medical card to use marijuana for medical purposes was not entitle to a reasonable accommodation under the Fair Housing Act and that the Michigan Medical Marijuana Act was preempted by the Controlled Substance Act.
The Plaintiff suffered from Multiple Sclerosis and received social security supplemental income. The Plaintiff’s doctor prescribed medical marijuana to help with her symptoms. The state of Michigan provided Plaintiff with a medical marijuana card pursuant to the Michigan Medical Marijuana Act. 

Plaintiff began smoking marijuana in her apartment. The landlord filed for eviction due to her smoking. Plaintiff requested reasonable accommodations under the Fair Housing Act. The complex is  project-based, Section 8, federally assisted and the lease states that Defendant “may terminate the agreement for various reasons, including: drug-related criminal activity engaged in on or near the premises by any Resident, household member, or guest, or any such activity engaged in on the premises by any other person under the Resident’s control; “if the landlord determines that the Resident, any member of the Resident’s household, a guest or another person under the Resident’s control has engaged in the criminal activity, regardless of whether the Resident, any member of the Resident’s household, a guest or another person under the Resident’s control has been arrested or convicted for such activity.” Forest City Residential Management v. Lashawn Beasley and Eugene Kenyon, Case No. 13-14547 (E.D. Mich. 2014)

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