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Hawaiians Upset About Public Housing Medical Marijuana Ban

CBD Hawaii Honolulu

The first county public housing product in Kapaau is implementing a smoking ban. One medical marijuana patient living at Ainakea Senior Residences is asking county officials for “reasonable accommodation” to use his medical marijuana inside his unit. Lanric Hyland is 78-years-old and uses a walker.

Hyland said, “It’s ludicrous. I have a constitutional right to privacy in my own home.”

Hyland says he’s spoken with management and they have been unsympathetic, according to Hawaii Tribune-Herald. He claims that he’ll have to walk nearly 100-yards from his apartment to the curb to use his medicine when the smoking ban goes into effect on June 1. Hawaii Affordable Properties Inc. manages the senior living community.

The management company did not return calls requesting comment on the situation. Neil Gyotoku referred questions to the Office of Corporation Council. Federal housing and urban development funding could be lost if medical marijuana patients use their medicine on-property because it is still illegal federally.

Hyland said, via email, to the County Council, that, “So while the whole federal government is struggling to be rational about the changing public attitude about cannabis throughout the United States, (Hawaii Affordable Properties staff) are struggling to make medically distraught kupuna homeless after kicking them out of their homes for legally using cannabis to relieve their pain and other medical conditions.”

In 2015, a state-enacted law says, “No landlord shall refuse to lease property to or otherwise penalize a person solely for the person’s status as a qualifying patient or primary caregiver in the medical marijuana program under this part, unless failing to do so would cause the … landlord to lose a monetary or licensing-related benefit under federal law or regulation.”

Carl Bergquist of the Drug Policy Forum of Hawaii said, “There is a bit of a gray area regarding the requirement to make ‘reasonable accommodations’ for people with disabilities,” Bergquist said in an emailed response to questions from West Hawaii Today. “Prohibiting a bedridden cancer patient, who is registered for medical cannabis, from ingesting cannabis, could lead to a lawsuit. But as far as I know, the state of Hawaii has yet to stand up for patients, stating that this is a reasonable accommodation. Until it does, no landlord can be obliged to make this type of accommodation.”