The “Marijuana in Federally Assisted Housing Parity Act of 2018” introduced by Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) will protect people who use medical marijuana.
It’s an ambitious bill prompted by a D.C. resident’s need for cannabis medication who lives in federally assisted housing. As of now, no matter the law of the land you reside on, using cannabis products bars one from benefiting from federal housing, which is in many cases the difference between the streets and a home.
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The D.C. resident’s name is Sondra Battle and Rep. Homes Norton is calling the Bill, “Sondra Battle Cannabis Fair Use Act.” Clearly, the Representative is greatly moved by Battle’s story and sees the healing benefits of cannabis as big enough to supercede Federal law in states that already allow for medical or recreational marijuana.
It’s valliant, and if it is to pass, it will be monumental. The problem is that cannabis is strictly illegal at the Federal level. Deemed a Schedule I substance as of yet, the plant is labeled as having no medical value and as a drug with high potential for abuse. That’s how it’s defined and, because of that, it may prove quite difficult to clear the hurdles ahead for such a Bill.
There’s been buzz all around about congress, Senators and even the possibility of President Trump wanting to re- or de-schedule cannabis to let all medically and recreationally legalized states take a deep, collective breath, get to proper banking and expand, expand, expand. As it stands, however, the current Federal status is like a brick wall.
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Still, it’s encouraging to see government officials standing up for cannabis users’ rights one after the other in such meaningful ways. Like Rep. Holmes Norton declared, “Residents like Sondra should not fear eviction from federally assisted housing simply for using cannabis to treat their medical conditions.” It’s a hundred percent true now and it will be just as true when the Federal wall comes tumbling down.
Bills like these remove the bricks of prohibition one by one and, as we were all taught, anything is possible. Perhaps Sondra Battle and her Rep. will be the faces of federally funded housing becoming cannabis friendly in the near future. It could be a giant leap that would literally open doors for thousands of people and their families.