Blog Archive

Monday, October 11, 2010

Great Falls Housing Authority is Evicting Patients

By Ron Crumpton

Montana – A Great Falls man has been evicted from his home, not because he possessed marijuana on the premises, he was evicted for the possession of a medical marijuana card.

Steve Vanderschelden received an eviction notice in August after a picture of him holding his state issued medical marijuana card appeared in a local newspaper.

“The Great Falls Public Housing Authority convicted me of a drug crime by having that card. That is overstepping their bounds, that's wrong, morally and ethically, that's just wrong," said Vanderschelden.

Kevin Hager, executive director of the Great Falls Housing Authority, said, "We have the legal opinion from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development that states that it's still illegal, it's in direct conflict of federal law. Not only the use of, but if you have the intent to use, you are still denied subsidy or assistance."

As late, as August 31, in a similar case where a dying man was being evicted from his home in Nevada, the Department of Housing and Urban Development denied that they had issued anything that required local authorities to evict medical marijuana patients.

"Local housing authorities have the discretion to evict a tenant for using medical marijuana...they can evict, but they don't have to evict,” from a statement issued by the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

While the Great Falls Housing Authority (GFHA) claims to have sent notices to their section 8 residents, Mr. Vanderschelden says he never received anything, and that they cannot prove that he ever used marijuana on their property.

According to the GFHA, they do not need proof of him using, simply having the card is enough.

Now, Mr. Vanderschelden is no longer allowed on housing authority property, and he has moved to another city so that his daughter and grandsons can remain in section 8 housing.

So, basically, the federal is going against the states right to determine what is best for its citizens. They are kicking the sick and injured out of their home, and they are splitting up families that do not have the resources to stand up to them.

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