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HUD reiterates position on cannabis.
Back in 2014, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development released a memo stating that federally assisted housing providers “must deny admission” to people who are medical cannabis patients, but gave the providers discretion regarding what to do with existing tenants who were medical cannabis patients. Because all cannabis is treated equally by the feds, this position applies to states that have legalized personal use cannabis, as well.
Today, there are millions of American households that use some sort of federal housing assistance through HUD. How many of those households involve a medical cannabis patient is unknown, but they are not protected from eviction.
Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton, who is the sponsor of the Marijuana in Federally Assisted Housing Parity Act of 2021 (H.R. 3212), recently asked HUD to “use its executive discretion not to enforce rules against marijuana use in federally assisted housing that is in compliance with the marijuana laws of the state where the property is located.”
HUD responded, in short: “Absent a change in federal law, HUD does not have the discretion to admit users of marijuana, including medical marijuana, to the Public Housing program.”
Governors push for passage of SAFE Banking.
Nearly two dozen governors sent a letter to House and Senate leadership in Congress to call for the passage of the SAFE Banking Act’s language as part of the FY 2022 National Defense Authorization Act.
“Cannabis businesses,” the letter reads, are “disadvantaged compared to other legal businesses by being unable to open bank accounts or obtain loans at reasonable rates.”
“The SAFE Banking Amendment will remedy these harms and help keep communities in our states and territories safe by allowing legitimate and legal cannabis companies to access banking services. Financial institutions will subject the funds and account holders to rigorous anti-money laundering and ‘Know Your Customer’ requirements that will further help states where cannabis has been made legal to keep bad actors out of the system,” the letter continues.
Sens. Warren, Merkley, and Markey call on Biden to pardon those with cannabis convictions.
US Sens. Elizabeth Warren, Jeff Merkley, and Ed Markey sent a letter to President Joe Biden, asking that he use his “executive authority to pardon all individuals convicted of non-violent cannabis offenses, whether formerly or currently incarcerated.”
They call out majority support for legalization among Americans, and the rapid shift toward decriminalization or legalization at the state level. Further, they quote Biden as saying, during his run for office, that “we should decriminalize marijuana” and “everyone [with a marijuana record] should be let out of jail, their records expunged, be completely zeroed out.”
“Our country’s cannabis policies must be completely overhauled, but you have the power to act now: you can and should issue a blanket pardon for all non-violent federal cannabis offenses, fulfilling your promises to the American people and transforming the lives of tens of thousands Americans,” the letter reads. “We urge you to act swiftly on behalf of the countless Americans punished by the country’s senseless cannabis laws.”
Lawmakers call for state and tribal cannabis program protections.
U.S. Congress members Earl Blumenauer, Tom McClintock, Eleanor Holmes Norton, and Barbara Lee wrote a letter to House leadership to ask that they include “language to protect state, territory, and tribal cannabis programs from federal interference in the end-of-year Commerce, Justice and Science Appropriations bill.”
“We believe that the federal government should not interfere with these programs and the will of the voters of these states,” the lawmakers wrote.