Medical Marijuana Patient, 55, Denied An Apartment
By Steve Elliott of Toke of the Town
A 55-year-old man in Colorado has been denied residence by an apartment complex after his daughter revealed that he had a medical authorization to use marijuana.
Marlena Martino said that managers at Minnequa Shores apartment complex in Pueblo, Colorado, rejected her father's application for a lease due to his medicinal cannabis use, reports Jeff Tucker at The Pueblo Chieftain. Managers at the apartments declined to comment on their drug policy.
"We go to sign the lease and the woman brought up their policy on drugs and crime," Martino said. "I told her about his medical marijuana certificate and she said we couldn't sign the lease.
"What I don't understand is how you can pick and choose which laws to follow?" Martino asked. "Who are you to decide what's valid?"
Martino said her father suffers from a number of maladies including muscular dystrophy and chronic back pain. She said her father doesn't need continuous care, but she wanted him to live nearby.
Issues such as how a private apartment complex deals with the state's medical marijuana law are among the many maddening gray areas created by the difference in state and federal laws regarding cannabis. Colorado's medical marijuana law contradicts the federal Controlled Substances Act, which outlaws cannabis for any purpose.
Minnequa Shores may not be that desirable a place to live, according to one anonymous poster on ApartmentRatings.com.
"The environment is satisfactory however the office staff is both unprofessional and discourteous," the anonymous contributor wrote. "If you have any desire to have even a remote friendliness with your landlord for comfort's sake this place due to management staff is almost like living in a prison."
In any event, the complex may have the right to refuse the lease, according to attorney Karl Tameler, who has hosted conferences with medical marijuana patients and growers to educate them about the law.
"Most lease agreements have provisions where tenants agree not to violate any state, local or federal laws," Tameler said. "And this does highlight the friction, again, between the state and federal law."
Tameler said that to his knowledge, an issue like this hasn't been tested yet in Colorado's court system.
While he tends to feel it's a discriminatory practice to exclude medical marijuana patients, Tameler said he's not convinced such patients would be considered a "protected clasds" under state and federal laws prohibiting discrimination in lease agreements.
"You're not going to get any relief," Tameler said.
But Martino said she was going to try; she said she is trying to find help by working with medical marijuana advocates in Denver.
Article From Toke of the Town and republished with special permission.