Maine State Housing Authority board stalls decision on whether to revoke …

September 25th, 2013 by admin Leave a reply »

AUGUSTA, Maine — A lack of federal guidance on the use of medical marijuana in federally subsidized apartments led the Maine State Housing Authority board of commissioners on Tuesday to delay a decision on the issue for up to another year.

Commissioners and MaineHousing Director John Gallagher expressed deep frustration that despite repeated attempts to secure guidance from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development in the past year, none has been given.

“We’ve asked for feedback by letter, email and directly to [HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan],” Gallagher told the board Tuesday morning in Augusta. “None is forthcoming. We’re still waiting for a response.”

At issue is whether to allow legal medical marijuana consumers who already receive housing vouchers through MaineHousing to use or cultivate marijuana in their homes under a law passed in Maine in 1999. The board voted in August 2012 to terminate vouchers for medical marijuana users, but then instituted two consecutive six-month moratoriums after protests from medical marijuana advocates. The second of those moratoriums would have expired next month if the board hadn’t extended it for another year on Tuesday.

According to Denise Lord, MaineHousing’s director of housing choice vouchers, there are approximately 3,800 Mainers receiving vouchers in the program, approximately 14 of whom are known medical marijuana patients. There also are approximately 30 local housing authorities that also are grappling with Maine law, which allows medical marijuana, and federal law, which doesn’t.

Most of those agencies, including MaineHousing, which administers the voucher program for municipalities that don’t

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