Congresswoman Norton Requests HUD Permit Marijuana in Public Housing

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA: Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) wrote Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Marcia Fudge today asking her to use executive discretion to not enforce rules against marijuana use in federally assisted housing in compliance with the marijuana laws of the state where the property is located.

“Individuals should not be denied admission to or fear eviction from federally assisted housing simply for treating their medical conditions or using a substance legal under state law,” Norton said. “Increasingly, Americans are changing their views on marijuana. Marijuana is legal in 36 states and the District of Columbia, and nobody should fear being thrown out of their home for using a product legalized by their state.”

Norton is the sponsor of the Marijuana in Federally Assisted Housing Parity Act of 2021, which would permit the use of marijuana in federally assisted housing in compliance with the marijuana laws of the state where the property is located.

The letter follows:

 

May 25, 2021

The Honorable Marcia Fudge

Secretary

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development

451 Seventh Street SW

Washington, DC 20410

Dear Secretary Fudge:

I request that you use executive discretion to not enforce rules against marijuana use and possession in federally assisted housing, including public housing and Section 8 housing, in compliance with the marijuana laws of the state where the property is located.

Individuals living in federally assisted housing should not be denied admission, or face eviction, for using a legal product.  Adult use and/or medical marijuana is currently legal in 36 states and the District of Columbia, and over 90 percent of Americans support legalized medical marijuana.  The users of drugs that are illegal under federal law, including marijuana, are prohibited from being admitted into federally assisted housing.  Moreover, federal law allows landlords to evict residents of federally assisted housing for drug use.

The federal government has begun to change its approach to marijuana.  In 2018, the Food and Drug Administration approved Epidiolex, which is derived from marijuana.  Epidiolex is used to treat children who suffer from seizures.  For the last several years, Congress has prohibited the Department of Justice (DOJ) from using federal funds to prohibit jurisdictions from implementing their medical marijuana laws.  HUD, like DOJ, should not enforce federal marijuana laws where states have taken action to legalize marijuana.

Smoking marijuana in federally assisted housing should be treated in the same manner as smoking tobacco in federally assisted housing.

I ask that you respond in writing by June 21, 2021.

Sincerely,

Eleanor Holmes Norton