Cannabis users in federal housing are being evicted


The government would rather see pot smokers homeless.

Despite Colorado having passed legislation to legalize limited amounts of marijuana for recreational use for adults 21 and up, some residents remain victimized by lingering, antiquated pot laws. Indeed, the purgatory between a progressive state law and federal prohibition have continued to wreak havoc on residents like 87-year-old Lea Olivier, who was recently evicted from federal housing after an inspector claimed to smell weed. Now, she has less than two weeks to find a new place to live.

Olivier admits to having used marijuana in the past to help treat her arthritis pain, but she does not believe the odor that got her kicked out of the place she has called home for the past five years was even hers. “A compliance officer said they smelled pot coming from my residence,” she told The Durango Herald. “I don’t think it was even me.
Even if Olivier’s apartment did smell like marijuana, it is now legal in Colorado, so she is well within her rights to chief the reefer in the privacy of her home as much as she can toke down, right? Unfortunately, that is not the case. The federally subsidized housing that Olivier has been taking refuge in for the past few years has a policy prohibiting the use of illegal substances, which is only a problem in Colorado because Uncle Sam still considers marijuana an illegal drug.
This conundrum between Colorado’s new pot laws and the U.S. government’s bullheaded stance on marijuana is causing a great deal of turmoil for many of those living in federal housing, said Terri Wheeler, executive director of the Housing Authority of Montezuma County. “It has become a problem, and is confusing because marijuana is legal in the state,” she said. “Residents sign an agreement that they know it is not allowed on the property.”
So far, the federal housing regulations against weed has caused six Montezuma County residents out into the cold to search for alternative housing, but Wheeler insists her department is not as strict about pot as they are for other drugs. “Warnings have been given for marijuana. For meth, there is no going back,” she said. “We know there are valid medical uses for marijuana, but we have to comply with HUD regulations, or we lose our subsidies for people who need housing assistance.”
As for Olivier, who now has less than 10 days to find a new home, she says that the federal housing authority is making up the rules as they go, and that property managers have been telling marijuana users to step outside the boundaries of the complex to smoke weed, which is against state law. “They told us to go beyond a certain gate or leave in our car and go somewhere else, but we cannot keep anything in our car if it is parked on their property,” she said. “It is ridiculous; I don’t want to live here anymore anyway.”
As long as federal prohibition exists, the elderly and the sick who rely on government programs for continued survival are destined to be cast out and rendered destitute and homeless for using a plant that over half the states in America have approved for medicinal use. In the cornucopia of injustices derived from the failed war on drugs, throwing grandmothers out of their homes for smoking weed is perhaps the most un-American.
Mike Adams writes for stoners and smut enthusiasts in High Times, Playboy’s The Smoking Jacket and Hustler Magazine. You can follow him on Twitter @adamssoup and on Facebook/mikeadams73.