Can Section 8 housing make me sign an affidavit that I will not use medical marijuana, not just on the property but anywhere?

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Can Section 8 housing make me sign an affidavit that I will not use medical marijuana, not just on the property but anywhere?

The NEWHS is trying to tell me the HUD can control my life beyond the property (citing Title 24 CFR 982.553). The way I read it, its only if on the premises or if it threatens the health, safety, or right to peaceful enjoyment of residences. Can they control my life like this? If I’m legaly ablel to smoke and do so beyond the vicinity of the premises, and don’t threaten the health, etc, can they terminate me? I don’t want to sign an affidavit swearing not to ever use my medication; I’m willing to sign no use on premises. Need help by 12/10, what do I do?

Asked on December 1, 2010 under Real Estate Law, Washington

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Unfortunately, the housing authority can tell you this--and, in fact, is required to do so. Pursuant to the statutes and regulations under which they get support or grants from the federal government, which support then subsidizes the public housing, they are obligated to use leases which make it grounds for termination to use illegal or controlled substances.

I am not aware of any cases which deal with the issue of medical marijuana--that is, whether, if it is legal in the state for that tenant with a prescription, etc., that takes it off the list of proscribed substances that will cause eviction. However, since the federal government has generally not been friendly to the idea of medical marijuana, and federal law still criminalizes marijuana, it may well be that even medical marijuana would run afoul of that lease term. You should consult with an attorney with landlord-tenant experience in your area (if you can't afford one, try legal aid or legal services)--you may be presenting a new question of law which needs to be decided.


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