MaineHousing Delays Implementation of Medical Pot Ban

October 16th, 2012 by admin Leave a reply »

Equipped with a new executive director and a castigating audit from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Office of the Inspector General, commissioners on the board of directors for the Maine State Housing Authority continue to right what several consider a floundering state agency.

And now, after deciding last month to ban the use of medicinal marijuana by tenants who are also receiving federal housing benefits, the board is setting aside its ruling in response to pleas for fairness from some patients and the threat of potential litigation.

For Peter Anastos, commission chair, the panel’s original decision to ban medicinal marijuana was based on federal law.
“Most of us agree with you, we want to do this, but we can’t risk losing hundreds of thousands of dollars again – we’re in trouble with HUD,” said Anastos.

The problem facing MaineHousing pivots on the conflict between Maine’s 13-year-old law that legalized the use of medical marijuana to treat certain illnesses, and federal law that prohibits the use of marijuana. HUD currently gives states flexibility in operating federally-subsized — or Section 8 – housing programs that include medical marijuana patients — but it does not expressly endorse such state policies.

Anastos is concerned that with HUD investigators already sizing up Maine’s federal housing programs in the aftermath of an inspection failure, the state’s medical marijuana policies could provide another target resulting in more penalties for Maine.

“We have to tow the line – and that is the

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