A Michigan cancer patient whose eviction from her federally subsidized apartment — for using medical marijuana — was halted after an outcry in 2009 now faces homelessness again.
Lori Montroy, 52, of Elk Rapids, got another eviction notice last month at the apartment where she has lived since 2008, reports Patrick Sullivan at Northern Express.
“It’s just draining the life out of me, these people,” Montroy said. “Why can’t they just leave me be?”
Montroy thought she was safe in her apartment after the last attempted eviction around Christmas 2009. The company that at that time managed the apartment complex called off the eviction in early 2010 after a storm of bad publicity and a plea from attorneys with the American Civil Liberties Union. The attorneys argued that under federal law, landlords are not required to evict tenants for drug use under the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act.
But a different property management company has since taken over the complex where Montroy lives — and the new landlord, Steve Wright, said he plans to go ahead with the eviction.
Wright said he would “like to” help Montroy find another place to live, “if she’s willing to accept it.”
But as for his apartment complex, Wright said the “does not allow” medical marijuana patients, no exceptions. Don’t you dare get cancer if you live in this asshole’s place, you hear?
Montroy suffers from an aggressive and fatal form of brain tumor called bioblastoma multiform. Marijuana provides some relief from the symptoms of the terminal disease, but it may now also mean she’s homeless during her last months of life.
It didn’t take long for the new property managers to learn about her medical marijuana use and to start eviction proceedings against her, Montroy said.
When a property manager visited her place in February — not long after Montroy had smoked some cannabis — the manager could detect the smell and left the apartment suddenly.
Days later, Montroy received a “notice of lease violation” and on March 24 she received an eviction notice.
“They have an option, it’s written right in the law, that they do not have to kick me out,” Montroy said. “I’m not hurting anyone, so I don’t know why they would want to kick me out.”
Montroy said she always pays her rent on time, and never causes any trouble. She said she also fully complies with Michigan’s medical marijuana law, never possessing more than is allowed and always keeping her supply under lock and key.
She said her use of medicinal cannabis has helped her through an incredibly painful and difficult ordeal. She even credits the drug with helping to restore her health; according to Montroy, a recent MRI showed the tumor was gone; she will know more in six months when she gets another MRI.
Wright, owner of Elk Rapids Apartments and their Shelby Township-based management company, Prime Properties Management, LLC, said he has for two years been following a policy to evict medical marijuana patients and he “cannot make an exception” in this case.
“If I start making special rules for her, I’d have to make special rules for everyone,” the asshole said.
He said he “didn’t know how many” medical marijuana patients he’d already evicted, but it “has never stirred controversy.” His company owns apartment buildings throughout the state, mostly in rural areas.
“The government pays for her rent,” Wright said.k “I’d like her to stay here, and I feel for her story, but there’s nothing I can do.”
“Federal law trumps state law,” said Wright, a scumbag attorney. “It’s still a violation of federal law if you have drugs in your apartment. If I make an exception now, I have no policy.”
|Dan Korobkin, ACLU: “What this really amounts to is discrimination against medical marijuana patients”|
But Daniel Korobkin, an attorney with the ACLU in Detroit who is helping Montroy, said medical marijuana patients should have a right to be free of housing discrimination.
“The people of this state said overwhelmingly with their vote that they supported the right to use medical marijuana, just like other citizens use other medications to treat their illnesses,” Korobkin said. “What this really amounts to is discrimination against medical marijuana patients who are doing their best to treat their medical conditions the way their doctor has approved.”
Korobkin said federal policies — from an era when there was concern about street-corner crack dealers and violent drug users in housing projects — were not intended to impact a cancer-striken, law-abiding woman in her 50s who poses no threat to her neighbors.
Federal law prohibits landlords of federally subsidized housing from accepting new tenants who violate drug laws, so evicting Montroy could effectively prevent her from ever getting into any other federal housing, according to Korobkin.
“I do know that she faces a serious risk of not being able to get additional housing” should she be evicted, Korobkin said.
“If I had the money to go, I’d get the heck out of here,” said Montroy, who said she had both good and bad neighbors at Elk Rapids and would prefer to live in a house. But she can’t afford to move: “I don’t have the money.”
As for Wright’s claim that he offered to help her find a place to live?
“He hasn’t offered me anything,” Montroy said.
Steve Wright’s business email address at his law practice, Steven A. Wright P.C., is firstname.lastname@example.org. His business telephone is (586) 532-8560 and his business address is 13854 Simone Drive, Shelby Township, MI 48315.