Maine medical marijuana users fear loss of subsidized housing

September 24th, 2013 by admin Leave a reply »

PORTLAND — Some medical marijuana patients may have to choose between their cannabis and their federally subsidized housing if a state moratorium is not renewed before its Oct. 1 deadline.

While state housing officials say it’s unlikely the deadline will pass without action, the prospect is still unnerving to those who may be affected.

“I’ll have to go back on my pain medications and anti-depressants. I’m in no position to move again. I’m 61 years old,” said Brooks resident and medical marijuana patient Joan, who asked that her last name not be used. “My life had no quality [before I started using cannabis]. I was in a daze with all the pain medications and antidepressants.”

The moratorium allows grandfathered medical marijuana patients to use, possess and grow cannabis while in federally subsidized housing properties. If it is not extended before it sunsets next Tuesday, those patients will have to stop taking the drug in Section 8 housing or have their federal rent subsidies cut off.

The Maine State Housing Authority board of commissioners is scheduled to consider another yearlong extension at its meeting Tuesday morning in Augusta, authority spokeswoman Deborah Turcotte said Monday.

Turcotte said only 12 of the approximately 3,850 state Section 8 housing voucher receivers in Maine would be affected by a moratorium lapse if it happens.

The board initially approved a policy disallowing all medical marijuana use, possession or cultivation at properties that are part of MaineHousing’s Housing Choice Voucher Program in September 2012. But a month after approving the measure, the board

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