Housing

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Housing

Postby palmspringsbum » Sat Apr 08, 2006 2:08 pm

I've been homeless now for over a year. While the shelter mentioned in this article is only for families (charities routinely discriminate, with white men getting the least) it is illustrative of the fact that even while criminal sanctions against cannabis are eroding, you must still pee in a cup for a job & roof over your head. And for those that risked and lost everything in and for this movement, there is nothing.

Meanwhile, since I've been at the Concentration Camp known as their Homeless Services, I've met 3 people who rode the recovery merry-go-round there, gobbling Vicodin along with their handfulls of psych meds, who committed suicide. The most recent, just last week.

But they won't let me in, a bona fide certifide medical marijuana patient, unless I "give up medical marijuana".

No thanks, I'll die on the streets first.

The Santa Cruz Sentinel wrote:February 20, 2005

‘Tough love’ approach foundation of shelter effort for families

By SHANNA MCCORD
Sentinel staff writer
www.santacruzsentinel.com


<img src=bin/rebele-client.jpg align=right>SANTA CRUZ — Single father Michael Tyree had been clean and sober for three years when he thought a glass of wine with dinner would be fine. Or a couple hits of pot on a camping trip would be harmless.

However, a little led to a lot and in no time Tyree, 35, was spiraling downward to a dark place he had been before.

Getting wasted on alcohol and marijuana dragged him back to using crystal methamphetamine, a nasty and highly addictive drug that Tyree had been hooked on in his 20s.

This time around, Tyree’s drug addiction led to a frenzied lifestyle of scheming and committing crimes to make ends meet and feed an insatiable drug appetite.

"I kept plummeting down," Tyree said. "I had no means to get more money or drugs."

Tyree’s days of driving Porsches, earning $30 an hour in the construction field as a foundation specialist and staying at $500-a-night hotel rooms are gone. So are the times when the highlight of his day was making a drug deal and getting high.

The high school dropout saw it all end about three years ago when the money ran out, his credit was shot, he lost his Redwood City apartment and the law caught up with him.

Realizing it was time to clean up for good, Tyree took his daughter, 5-year-old Mikaela, to live with his parents. He put himself in a recovery program in San Francisco and five months later was sentenced to less than a year in San Mateo County Jail.

These days Tyree and Mikaela are without a permanent home but are taking steps to get their lives back on track.

They’re among the hundreds of families hoping to move into the soon-to-open family homeless shelter on Coral Street in Santa Cruz.

Help is on the way

The $5.5 million Rowland and Pat Rebele Family Shelter, a temporary living arrangement for parents with children, with room for 28 families, has been under construction for the past year and a half. It’s part of the homeless campus on Coral Street that includes a day center, the River Street Shelter and Page Smith Community House — places to help homeless individuals.

The family shelter was named after the Rebeles in recognition of their $500,000 donation.

Other major private donations from local residents include $250,000 from Jack Baskin and Peggy Downes Baskin, and $175,000 from Miles and Rosanne Reiter.

The shelter effort received $1.1 million from the David and Lucile Packard Foundation; $450,000 from the Kresge Foundation; $500,000 from the state Emergency Housing and Assistance Program and $500,000 from the California Endowment.

Raising the money was a competitive process that came down to the wire, with organizers struggling to bring in the required two-for-one dollar match necessary to receive the Kresge grant.

Land for the new shelter was made available through the city of Santa Cruz and Santa Cruz County. A dilapidated house that had been red-tagged by city officials was previously on the site. Also on the site was another house that served as the Homeless Persons Health Project, a health clinic run by the county.

The Homeless Persons Health Project is now a 4,500-square-foot clinic inside the new family shelter.

Ken Cole, head of the Homeless Services Center, said it will cost about $490,000a year to operate the family shelter, a large portion going to cover case management and food services.

Homeless Services Center is a nonprofit organization run by a volunteer board of directors and responsible for four major homeless programs, including the new family shelter.

In the beginning, the family shelter will rely heavily upon start-up money from private donors, then shift to government grants after it’s been up and running for a few years, Cole said.

"Most of the time you need to run a shelter before applying for government grants," he said.

They’ll also be looking for contributions from local government, he said.

Other family homeless shelters in Santa Cruz County include Pajaro Valley Shelter Services, The Jesus, Mary and Joseph Home and Siena House Maternity Home.

Cole expects Rowland and Pat Rebele Family Shelter’s first tenants to move in sometime next month.

About 13 homeless families have been through the screening process since it began earlier this month.

Though Tyree hasn’t been confirmed, Cole said, "I’d say he’s a good candidate. He’s done all the right things so far to get in."

The shelter is designed to help the hundreds of homeless in Santa Cruz County — people who have lost the roof over their head, yet have the motivation and desire to get it back.

The "tough love" atmosphere requires some house rules.

There’s zero tolerance for drug and alcohol use, and residents must have a job or be actively seeking one. A bank account to save money for housing is required and will be monitored, Cole said.

In return, the homeless families will have all their basic needs taken care of. Free food, laundry, health care, case managers, phones and high-speed Internet connections are included.

The rooms are furnished with new furniture and have been given "a human touch," Cole said, with framed art on the walls, matching bed linens, handmade quilts, clocks, calendars, desks and stuffed animals for the kids — donated by individuals and various area churches.

The individual bathrooms are stocked with shampoo, toilet paper, deodorant, toothpaste, towels and other amenities.

If accepted, it’s likely Tyree and Mikaela would share a room with a bathroom, a desk and a single bed with an attached trundle bed that pulls out from beneath.

The maximum stay is six months, albeit Cole prefers people to be in and out within three or four months — forcing them to stand on their own as soon as possible.

Starting clean again

Tyree says he’s ready to meet these conditions.

He’s been without drugs or alcohol for two years now. He’s studying to become a drug counselor at Bethany College in Scotts Valley, works part time at Scotts Valley Fitness Club, interns at Camp Recovery in Scotts Valley — all while raising Mikaela and setting goals to own a home by age 40.

"I guess I’m a smart homeless guy," Tyree said. "I’m asking for help, looking for help and not looking for a handout.

"There are hoops to jump through, but anybody can make this happen."

Of the 3,300 permanently homeless in Santa Cruz County, up to 400 probably qualify for the emergency family shelter, Cole said.

The waiting list for Families in Transition of Santa Cruz County Inc., a long-term case management program that offers temporary rental assistance, has between 350 and 400 families, he said.

Cole expects the new family shelter to ease the load at Families in Transition.

Without help, he said, the homeless families are living in motel rooms, doubling up in apartments, couch surfing and sleeping in cars.

"That doesn’t give them stability of knowing where they’re going to be from one night to the next," Cole said. "That’s the piece we really offer — stability."

For now, Tyree and Mikaela are living in temporary housing provided by New Life Community Services, an addiction treatment center and homeless shelter on Fair Avenue in Santa Cruz.

Tyree discovered the program while jailed in San Mateo County. It was one of the few he found that allowed children.

Mikaela’s mother is not in the picture, Tyree said.

Also, he figured, moving out of San Mateo County to Santa Cruz would allow him to leave his reputation behind and start over again.

New Life allows Tyree to work a couple days a week at the Scotts Valley Fitness Club, where he earns $8 an hour at the front desk and attend Bethany College, which is paid for with grants and educational loans.

He receives about $250 a month in welfare payments.

Mikaela attends kindergarten at New Horizons School, a Soquel school with room for 25 homeless and transitional children in Santa Cruz County.

"Her father has been a really great parent," said Patricia Morales, New Horizons executive director. "He’s really been supportive with what the teachers have asked for him to do."

But New Life Community Services only provides housing for a short time, so come March 1 Tyree and Mikaela must leave.

Father and daughter are crossing their fingers that the Rowland and Pat Rebele Family Shelter will take them in and allow Tyree to stay sober, continue school and work, and find a permanent home.

As for Mikaela, Tyree said, "I explain to her this is a stepping stone, because I’ve made some bad decisions. She’s ready to move on and get our own place."


Contact Shanna McCord at smccord@santacruzsentinel.com.

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9th Circuit strikes sleeping bans

Postby palmspringsbum » Sun Apr 16, 2006 4:36 pm

The Taipei Times wrote:US court rules in favor of homeless

FEDERAL APPEALS COURT: The ruling invalidated an ordinance that allowed the police to arrest homeless people for sleeping, sitting or lying in public places

The Taipei Times
NY TIMES NEWS SERVICE, LOS ANGELES
Sunday, Apr 16, 2006,Page 7


A federal appeals court panel ruled on Friday that arresting homeless people for sleeping, sitting or lying on sidewalks and other public property when other shelter is not available was cruel and unusual punishment.

The 2-1 ruling, by the US 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, in San Francisco, essentially invalidated a 37-year-old Los Angeles ordinance that the police have used to clear homeless people off the streets.

Legal experts said the case, which they believed to be the first involving the rights of homeless people in public spaces to reach the federal appellate level, would be closely followed by other cities facing the same problems.

The Los Angeles ordinance had gone largely unenforced until recent years, when the police began cracking down on illicit behavior in the Skid Row area of downtown, which has one of the largest concentrations of homeless people in the country.

The ordinance states that "no person shall sit, lie or sleep in or upon any street, sidewalk or public way" under threat of a US$1,000 fine and possible jail term of up to six months.

restrictive

The court of appeals, in striking down the convictions of six people charged under the ordinance, called it "one of the most restrictive municipal laws regulating public spaces in the United States" and cited the example of other cities, such as Portland, Oregon, Tucson, Arizona, and Las Vegas, Nevada, that have enacted similar ordinances but limited enforcement to certain times of day or designated places.

The Eighth Amendment, which bars cruel and unusual punishment, prohibits Los Angeles "from punishing involuntary sitting, lying, or sleeping on public sidewalks that is an unavoidable consequence of being human and homeless without shelter," Judge Kim McLane Wardlaw wrote.

The Los Angeles police, in response to the ruling, released a statement that said: "The condition of being homeless in and of itself is not a crime and should not be treated as such. But the criminal element that preys upon the homeless and mentally ill will be targeted, arrested and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law."

It added, "The department will continue to work with the city's political leadership and the courts to find solutions to help keep the homeless safe and off the streets."

A spokeswoman for the city attorney's office, Contessa Mankiewicz, said, "We are disappointed, and we are reviewing our options."

appeal

If the city chooses to appeal, it could seek a review of the decision by the full court or pursue a direct appeal to the Supreme Court.

The police in Los Angeles, which has been wrestling with how to reduce a homeless population that by some counts is the largest in the country, have used the ordinance in an effort to clean up Skid Row, a 50-block area east of downtown that has long been home to the down and out.

There, some 10,000 to 12,000 homeless people live near new condominiums and apartment buildings that have arisen in an explosion of gentrification.

limited shelter

The ruling said there was shelter for 9,000 to 10,000 homeless people in that area, leaving about 1,000 people or more without a roof over their heads.

"So long as there are a greater number of homeless individuals in Los Angeles than the number of available beds, the city may not enforce" the ordinance, the judges said.

The case was filed in February 2003 by the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California and the National Lawyers Guild on behalf of six homeless people who had been ticketed in Skid Row and in some cases jailed briefly or ordered to pay fines.

The appeals court's ruling on Friday overturns a district court ruling in favor of the city.

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Postby palmspringsbum » Fri Apr 28, 2006 9:38 am

The Santa Cruz Sentinel wrote:April 28, 2006


Santa Cruz hotels refuse to hand over tax receipts
By SHANNA McCORD
Sentinel staff writer


SANTA CRUZ — About a dozen hotels refuse to hand over tax records to city-contracted auditors to confirm they've paid their fair share of city taxes.

The city Finance Department is conducting an audit to scrutinize payment of the transient occupancy tax, a 10 percent fee added to guest bills and a major source of income for the city.

Some hotel owners have taken issue with the tax.

"You'll find throughout the state that cities are choked for money and they're trying to find uncollected transient occupancy tax taxes," said Frank Weiser, a Los Angeles attorney representing the Santa Cruz hotels in their opposition to the audit. "They're not looking for records, they're looking for money."

Weiser contends the tax is illegal.

The transient occupancy tax, common in cities across the state, raises more than $3 million in annual revenue for the city of Santa Cruz — 5 percent of the general fund.

It's been nearly a decade since officials have inspected individual hotel receipts in Santa Cruz to ensure the taxes are accurately collected and reported. While some cities conduct audits more regularly, budget shortfalls during the past five years have prevented routine checks, city officials say.

The Finance Department set aside $58,500 to hire Tax Compliance Services of Thousand Oaks in December, and the audit began in February.

Catching tax reporting errors, city officials say, could result in several thousands of dollars for Santa Cruz.

"Auditing is about accountability," said Gary Knutson, the city's acting finance director. "It's important to make sure the city is getting all the tax revenue it's entitled to and make sure it's all properly recorded."

Several hotels objected to the audit and refused to participate based on what they say are questions surrounding the legality of the transient occupancy tax.

Weiser said the legality is questionable because Proposition 218, passed by state voters in 1996, requires voter approval for all new taxes.

City leaders say the hotel occupancy tax didn't require voter approval because it took effect long before Proposition 218.

Weiser also criticizes the firm Tax Compliance Services.

"I know this auditor, and I've had battles with him in other cities," Weiser said. "He promises to raise a certain amount of money for the city. I question his objectivity."

The City Council issued 14 subpoenas this month to various lodging facilities, demanding to see tax records for the past three years.

Among the hotels still unwilling to participate are Econo Lodge, Candlelite Inn, Capri Motel, Budget Inn Motel, Comfort Inn, El View Lodge Motel, Paradise Inn, Islander Motel and the Hitching Post, according to city attorney John Barisone.

The city's next step is to ask Santa Cruz County Superior Court to enforce the subpoena, forcing the hotels to hand over their records.

Several of the hotel owners were unavailable to comment for this story.

Weiser said his clients will continue to fight the audit and bring a lawsuit against the city that overturns the transient occupancy tax, which has been a requirement under city law for decades.

"This is just good business practice," Mayor Cynthia Mathews said of the audit. "We feel very confident our ordinance is entirely legal."

Contact Shanna McCord at smccord@santacruzsentinel.com.

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Postby palmspringsbum » Fri Apr 28, 2006 9:41 am

The Santa Cruz Sentinel wrote:April 28, 2006


Restaurants, volunteers serve up soup to benefit homeless

By Genevieve Bookwalter
SENTINEL STAFF Writer


Soup from more than 25 of Santa Cruz County's top restaurants was ladled out Thursday night at a benefit to help the Homeless Services Center.

All soups, bread, desserts and beverages were donated, said Ken Cole, director of Homeless Services Center. As a result, 100 percent of the $20-per-ticket proceeds will benefit homeless programs. Guests also donated money through a silent auction to help the center.

Volunteers served more than 400 people and raised more than $40,000, including sponsorships, to support services for the homeless, Cole said.

"It was another really successful event for the Homeless Services Center," he said.

Thursday night's Soupline Supper featured celebrity soup servers, including all five Santa Cruz City Council members, two county supervisors, three candidates for the District 3 Supervisor race and UC Santa Cruz Chancellor Denice Denton.

The Homeless Services Center is comprised of traditional housing program Page Smith Community House, a transitional housing program; the Interfaith Satellite Shelter Program, the area's largest emergency shelter program; the Homeless Community Resource center, a day center offering sanitation, meal and transition services; and the Rowland and Pat Rebele Family Shelter, which houses homeless families with children.

Contact Genevieve Bookwalter at gbookwalter@santacruzsentinel.com

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Postby palmspringsbum » Wed May 24, 2006 6:14 pm

A virtual quadraplegic with MS in Vermont has to leave home to medicate: http://palmspringsbum.com/bbs/viewtopic.php?t=138
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The Castro: the AIDS eviction capital of the world

Postby palmspringsbum » Mon Jun 12, 2006 9:46 am

BeyondChron wrote:<img src=bin/promise25.jpg align=left>AIDS: 25 Years Later

by Tommi Avicolli Mecca‚ Jun. 01‚ 2006

BeyondChron.com


The StopAIDS Project in San Francisco recently hung 90 huge handmade paper irises on shop awnings and telephone poles throughout the Castro to mark the upcoming 25th anniversary on June 6 of the reporting of the first AIDS cases by the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control. As part of this installation, the flower shop Ixia put up a 43-foot-long display of these same irises on the corner of 18th and Castro. The flower was chosen in part because it was the favorite of the ancient Greek goddess of the rainbow. The theme of the display is simple: a renewal ofthe LGBT’s community’s commitment to stopping AIDS.

With an equally stunning visual, a billboard campaign by the AIDS Housing Alliance (AHA) called the “Faces of Eviction” also debuted in the Castro. It spotlights people with AIDS who have been evicted from their longterm apartments in the Castro and elsewhere. It can be seen at the MUNI underground stop at Castro and Market. Featuring large head shots of evicted tenants, the billboard proclaims that “people with AIDS who lose their homes die five times faster.” This campaign’s theme is simple: Poor and working-class people with AIDS have been abandoned--with deadly results.

The two efforts are indicative of the schizophrenic nature of the politics of AIDS in liberal San Francisco.

Despite all of the wealth in other parts of our LGBT community, poor and working-class people with AIDS live in some of the most rundown housing in San Francisco. They often don’t have money for rent, let alone food and medication. They die homeless on the streets. They are evicted from their long-term, rent-controlled places so that upper middle-class gays and can buy their apartments as tenancies in common (TICs) or pseudo condos. In 2005, 55% of the TIC evictions in the Castro were “protected” folks, including people with AIDS. According to AHA, the Castro represented 25% of all TIC evictions last year. The sheer number of these evictions prompted the AHA to call the Castro “the AIDS eviction capital of the world.” Mainstream AIDS organizations seldom acknowledge this incredible disparity between the haves and the have-nots.

It’s the reason I feel uncomfortable with brightly colored irises marking the 25th anniversary of a disease that claimed so many of my friends in the 80s. Twenty-five years of AIDS should not be a Hallmark moment or a “feel good” fest for the tourists. It shouldn’t be about designer flowers or even politicians at an official city commemoration patting themselves and each other on the backs while a couple blocks away poor people with AIDS struggle every day to survive.

This anniversary should be a time to reflect on where we’ve come from and where we still need to go. A time to admit that as a City we have failed in providing adequate affordable housing for people with AIDS. A time to say that it’s unacceptable that PWAs live in poverty while other members of our community wallow in wealth and privilege. A time to commit ourselves to ending poverty and economic inequities for all people. A time to honor the thousands of brave activists who took to the streets in the 80s to fight against the all-pervasive uncaring attitude of our homo-hating culture. The millions whose Herculean efforts gave us safe sex guidelines, medical marijuana, HOPWA vouchers, AIDS hospices, the American with Disabilities Act, etc. A time to remember the AIDS tent city that stood for years at U.N. Plaza right here in SF. Where is the tribute to all of that?

Twenty years of AIDS and all we get is a lousy blue iris.

Tommi Avicolli Mecca, a former PGN editor, is a radical working-class southern Italian queer performer, writer and activist.

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Postby palmspringsbum » Wed Jun 14, 2006 7:32 pm

A judge has dismissed an Anacortes (Washington) man’s $5 million lawsuit against the Anacortes Housing Authority, which charged the agency with violating his family’s civil rights by trying to evict him for keeping two 7-foot snakes and smoking marijuana for medical purposes on the premises.

In his decision, U.S. District Judge Robert Lasnik ruled that the rights of Michael Assenberg and his fiance Carla Kearney were not violated when the Anacortes Housing Authority in September 2005 told the couple to vacate their apartment on 22nd Street for violating its policies on pets and the use and possession of a controlled substance.

The AHA is a publicly funded housing authority subsidized by funds from the Department of Housing and Urban Development that provides affordable public housing to low-income people...


http://forums.palmspringsbum.com/viewto ... ?p=340#340
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WSJ article says Constance Gee smoked marijuana

Postby palmspringsbum » Sat Dec 02, 2006 6:50 pm

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The Pitiful State of our Country

Postby palmspringsbum » Sun Feb 10, 2008 8:40 pm

Helium wrote:
The Pitiful State of our Country


Helium
February 5, 2008

Dr. Freon

I recently received an e-mail from a wine producer stating how they were disgusted with the welfare system in that the welfare system does not require a mandatory drug test from their clients in order to receive welfare benefits. This producer went on to say how that to work in this country that mandatory drug testing was required in order to obtain employment in a vast number of business in order to obtain a job and to pay taxes of which a big part of those taxes went to the welfare system where a big part of their clientele are drug addicts who do not have to take a drug test to receive benefits that non drug users have to pay.

At first this struck me wrong, for here I am thinking that he was down against drug addicts when he is a part of the problem in making wine, which to me is a drug. My thinking was that an alcoholic is no different than someone who is on heroin, marijuana, crystal methamphetamine, tobacco or any other numerous drugs and or products that are harmful to the human body. An alcoholic who can get so inebriated that they will drive down the wrong side of a freeway and then crash into another car killing a whole family is worse than someone who smokes pot, which is an illegal drug, which some states has approved the use of for chronic pain. An alcoholic who also gets on welfare and takes their EBT card to some unscrupulous business and exchanges the benefits for cash and then goes down to the local package store to obtain his product of choice, (wine, beer, whisky), and then gets into their intoxicated state and become dangerous to humanity by getting into a vehicle and driving is far worse than the person who smokes a joint, gets high, and sits around buzzed.

I then spent the next week thinking about the e-mail that was sent to me, and came to the conclusion that there is a problem not only with random drug testing and the welfare system, but also with welfare and the way it is handled, drugs, laws, politicians, the political system as a whole and the long list of abuse that has erupted in our democratic society since our founding fathers rebelled against the abuse that England imposed upon them back in 1776.

Once again, we, the lowly unrepresented Americans, are facing abuse, from the politicians that we have elected to represent us, the same kind of abuse that the colonist, our founding fathers, suffered from at the hands of the nobles and the King. Now you are wondering just how it is that we are unrepresented, when it is us who go to the polls and vote for the people who are holding office. Sure, when election time rolls around the politicians all go about telling you what it is that they think that you want to know. "Once I get elected I will reform bla bla bla ." "If you elect me I will see to it that every American gets bla bla bla" "Elect me and I will end all the abuse in Washington and see to it that bla bla bla." And the lies go on.

Why is it that we even have elections? The answer is simple, to change from one crook to another. Now you are upset, how is it that you dare to call our politicians crooks! One only has to look at the Presidential elections, the Senate elections, the House of Representatives' elections and ask themselves why is it that a person will spend millions of dollars trying to get into an office that only pays a few thousand a month! So you say to yourself that it is the PAC's, Political Action Committees, who pay for the elections and not the person who is running for office. Yes, PAC's who shell out the money so that a favorable vote will come their way. Let us not forget about the lobbyist who also shells out money buying votes. This is why the insurance that we have to buy is so high and costly. This is why our medical cost has sky rocketed and when we go to the hospital after a week's stay we have to declare bankruptcy. This is why we have to hold two and three jobs to pay the taxes that our glorious politicians use to vote themselves a raise every year. These people that we elect are not representing us, they are representing the big business who shells out the money to them so that they will vote to raise insurance, hospitalization, oil and gas just to name a few. These people are representing themselves so that they can get ahead in this world and live on easy street off of the backs of the poor ignorant people who has elected them into office.

Now, right before the big election in November to vote on who will be the new President, the lame duck president is pushing for a tax rebate for the people who pay taxes. As it stands now, about 40% of Americans pay no taxes because they are living at or below poverty level. These are the people who are working at Wal-Mart, McDonalds, K-Mart etc. etc. making minimum wage, the ordinary common citizen who more than likely are working two jobs trying to make ends meet and still finding themselves on the loosing end of the stick. These are the people that the rich are working like slaves so that they can make more off the sweat of their backs. These poor people are the ones who are in need of the tax rebate, for if the money were in their hands then they would spend it all on goods that the rich sell. But our ignorant governmental officials want to give the money to the rich who pay taxes, the people who already have everything and if they got the tax rebate, they would not know what else to spend it on except perhaps to invest it into stocks so that they could make more off of it.

Forty percent of Americans pay no taxes? Yes, almost half of the population in America is living at poverty level and pay no taxes. This statement is false, for these workers still pay taxes, but not federal income tax. These poor people pay social security and Medicare taxes that the rich will benefit from, according to the New York Times, "Tax Rebate or Payment?" published Jan. 20, 2008 by Edmund L Andrews. This tax rebate is a classic example of the rich looking out for the rich. Who will eventually pay for the rich to have their rebate? The answer is the poor people who are struggling to make ends meet, the poor people who can't afford hospitalization insurance even when they are working two jobs. Your next question is how if they are not paying federal taxes. The poor pay social security taxes that our elected officials have time after time drawn from to pay for what ever program that they vote on to benefit the powers that be, big business, and raises for themselves.

Now for what brought me here in the first place, the wine producer and his e-mail about drug testing for the people who are on welfare. Forty percent of Americans at or below poverty level, it is no wander that we have a lot of people applying for welfare. The welfare program is in need of a major overhaul. Once a person gets on welfare they have it made over the person who is working for minimum wage. When they get on the program, they have their medical paid, eye glasses paid, dental paid, an EBT card to spend on food and even some cash. The person who works for minimum wage can't compete with this, so their attitude is why take a drastic drop in benefits and go out and get a job flipping hamburgers for minimum wage when welfare gives me all of this for free.

To overhaul this problem would be difficult to be truthful with you. There are a number of things that would have to be changed. I would like to see the day that a person would be better off working than being on welfare. In order for that to happen, we would need to have a national hospitalization plan in effect, where it would not cost the people anything to get looked at by the Doctors or the hospital. In order for that to happen, we would have to do away with insurances, who are not about to give up the lucrative business that they have already established, the hospitals who also would join the insurances in the fight not to overhaul the system and the Physicians who also do not want change. If we had a nationalized medical system a lot of your politicians would loose money, money that the medical field is paying to them under the table for favorable votes on the bills that goes into the houses that would benefit their cause, which adds more expense that gets passed down to the poor working man. A nationalized medical plan would also lower the cost of the drugs that we have to pay because of the money that is slipped to your politicians under the table by the drug manufactures for favorable votes in the house and senate. The manufactures pass down this cost to the public who needs those drugs to survive, and my dear friends you know this to be true because you can get these same drugs in Mexico and Canada for less than what we have to pay for them here in the states.

Now we are finally getting to what brought me here in the first place, the wine producer who sent me an e-mail about drug testing and welfare. According to the "Office of National Drug Control Policy", the Federal Government spent over 19 billion dollars in 2003 on the war on drugs, at a rate of $600.00 dollars per second, and the budget has been increased by billions more. This does not take in to account what state and local governments have spent which is estimated to be another 30 billion according to the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse, "Shoveling Up: The Impact of Substance Abuse on State Budgets", Jan 2001. With all this money being spent, and with no appreciable results on all that has been spent, this is another problem that is in need of a major overhaul. The war on drugs is a war that can not be won! We once waged war on alcohol and found out that it was also a war that could not be won.

I believe that what needs to be done is that our duly elected governmental officials needs to get their heads out of the place that the sun does not shine into and think about what really needs to be done to solve this problem. What could be done is to revamp their thinking on all the things that are bad like alcohol, drugs, tobacco and create a separate department to handle these problems. We need to have all of these items legalized where we are not wasting billions of dollars trying to eradicate something that can not be accomplished. Then we need to have separate stores to handle all of these items, where when a person wants to buy their wine, beer, whisky, tobacco, or drugs they will have to go in and sign a log, show their ID and have their purchases logged down as to what they bought, how much they bought and how often that they have bought it. This way we will know who the problem drinkers are, who the drug addicts are, who is contaminating the air that we breathe with the smoke that they use, the people that can be watched by local law enforcement officials and monitored for the well being of the remainder of our society. These people can then be identified and watched and checked, for if they are spending more on their alcohol, tobacco, drugs than what they make then they can be watched to see if they are stealing from others to support their bad habits. Then, if a person wants to be on welfare, then one of the provisions for being on welfare is not to have a debilitating habit like alcoholic beverages, tobacco or drugs. If this were to happen, then millions instead of billions of dollars can be spent trying to rehabilitate the people who are truly in need, spending money to cure them of their bad habits instead of trying to lock them up. If we cured them of their bad habits then they can become viable citizens and help in making our country strong and pure like what our forefathers so desperately wanted when they rebelled against tyranny back in 1776.

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Medical marijuana use draws mixed reaction

Postby palmspringsbum » Sat Mar 22, 2008 8:35 pm

Inman Consumer News wrote:
Medical marijuana use draws mixed reaction

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Rent it Right

Janet Portman
Inman News

Q: I have always included a clause in my leases that says if tenants use drugs on the property, they're out. I recently smelled marijuana coming from the apartment of a tenant who moved in a few months ago. When I confronted this tenant, he claimed he uses marijuana for medical reasons, and said that because even the police won't arrest him for his use, I have to allow him to use it and continue to live here. Is he right? --Dale S.

A: If you want to stick to your guns, you'll find several strong legal arguments to back you up. Under federal law, possession of marijuana is still illegal, even in the several states that have passed "compassionate use" laws. These laws protect people who use marijuana under a doctor's recommendation from criminal prosecution under state statutes. They do not attempt to tell private citizens, such as landlords or employers, how they must react when employees or tenants use the drug on the job or in rented premises; nor do they elevate marijuana to the status of a prescription drug.

Let's assume that your tenant meets the definition of a disabled person: He has or is regarded as having a physical or mental disability that substantially limits one or more major life activities. He'd be within his rights to expect you to be reasonably accommodating -- for example, to regularly remind him of when the rent is due or forgive occasional tardiness if his prescription medication makes him prone to forgetfulness. But many would agree with you that as long as marijuana possession remains illegal under federal law, requiring you to permit its use on your property would be an unreasonable accommodation.

Before you conclude that might and right are on your side, however, give this some more thought. First, is this tenant's use causing any problems? If you're observing hoards of nighttime visitors, presumably supplying your tenant (or joining him), then you're dealing with a party, not a prescription, which no compassionate use law will insist that you tolerate. Or, is your tenant acting bizarrely, leading you to believe he's in a deep and constant marijuana daze? Again, you aren't required to host such behavior on your property. But if your tenant is in all respects a neighborly, conscientious, rent-paying resident, it's beginning to look like no harm, no foul.

Assuming your tenant is disabled and has a doctor who has recommended marijuana use, where do you expect him to use it? If every landlord evicts him for simply using the drug, he'll be relegated to "back alley" locations in order to not become homeless. The voters in your state probably didn't have that consequence in mind when they exempted medical use from prosecution under state laws. Maybe the truly compassionate thing to do would be to talk with your tenant and explore how he can meet his needs in a more discreet manner -- he could start by closing the windows.

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Niles man to fight eviction for growing, using marijuana

Postby palmspringsbum » Thu Jul 02, 2009 3:07 am

the South Bend Tribune wrote:Niles man to fight eviction for growing, using medical marijuana

By LOU MUMFORD | Tribune Staff Writer
The South Bend Tribune | 29 Jun 09


NILES — Steve Allain has his answer, and it's not the one he would have preferred.

Allain is the 54-year-old Niles man who, in a Tribune story last month, acknowledged he uses marijuana to help him deal with Crohn's disease, hepatitis C and acute depression. To him, voter approval of the Michigan Medical Marijuana Act was a godsend, or so he thought.

Instead of buying marijuana from, as he put it, street vendors, he can now grow his own. A card he recently obtained from the state allows him to do just that.

So what's the hitch? As real estate agents might say: location, location, location. Allain lives in one of Niles' scattered public housing sites, putting him at the mercy of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Niles Housing Commission.

Last week, he was informed that his request to grow and use marijuana in his home, while OK with the state, isn't OK with HUD and the housing commission. He was ordered to vacate the premises by Friday.

Instead, he's staying put, at least for now. Allain said Monday he'll pursue the housing commission's grievance procedure, which entitles him to a hearing before Mary Ann Bush, who on June 4 became the commission's new executive director, and Scott Clark, the commission chairman.

If Allain is unsuccessful there, his next option would be a courtroom. That's where he expects his case will wind up, and where, he believes, he'll have his best chance to prevail, arguing he has done nothing illegal.

“That's the crux of our argument,” he said.

He pointed to a provision in his lease that he says the housing commission is using to evict him. The provision, under grounds for eviction, reads as follows:

“Any activity by tenant, household member, guest or other person under tenant's control, including sexual harassment, criminal activity that threatens the health, safety or right to peaceful enjoyment of the commission's public housing premises by other residents or employees, or any drug-related criminal activity.”

Certainly, growing and using marijuana is drug-related, he said. But is it a criminal activity? In his case, he argued it isn't, not when he has followed all the proper steps to register under the Michigan Medical Marijuana Act and is complying not only with the act but the Niles City Council's recently enacted ordinance intended to regulate it.

“I've talked to Betty Arndt, on the City Council, and I have no problems with the ordinance. This is commission policy,” he said, referring to the housing commission.

For her part, Bush said she sympathizes with Allain, but a check with HUD revealed a “zero tolerance” policy as far as marijuana. Allain has called about the eviction notice, she said, and has been made aware of his rights under the grievance process.

The housing commission director for less than a month, Bush indicated that issuing the notice wasn't easy.

“The heart and head get confused sometimes,” she said.

A former truck driver and Waste Management employee who gets by on disability benefits, Allain said in the earlier Tribune story it's a mystery how he developed hepatitis C. He also said marijuana has been his only effective and affordable means of pain relief, unlike other anti-depressants that left him with night sweats and night terrors.

The sole resident of the property except for his 17-year-old son, Allain displayed an indoor growing operation that currently features two plants just now in their flowering cycle. The plants are in a vulnerable stage, he said, explaining a disruptive light cycle associated with a move would likely ruin their effectiveness.

“I'd have crop failure,” he said, smiling. “Me? Physically, I'm worn out. Financially, my resources are depleted. Homeless people are doing better than me because they have no debt.”

He pointed out he keeps his operation under lock and key, as spelled out by the act and city ordinance.

Bush said she's unaware whether Allain's case is the first in the state where a tenant in public housing is facing eviction for participating in the state's medical marijuana program. Allain said he doesn't know, either, but he's certain of something else:

“This is uncharted territory.”
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Medical marijuana user who lost rental assistance files suit

Postby palmspringsbum » Sat Jul 04, 2009 9:41 am

The Montrose Daily Press wrote:
Medical marijuana user who lost rental assistance files suit

By Katharhynn Heidelberg | Daily Press Senior Writer
The Montrose Daily Press | 4 Jul 2009

MONTROSE — The medical marijuana user and dispenser who lost his Section 8 housing voucher now says the housing authority may be in contempt of court.

William Hewitt, who is licensed to use medical marijuana under Colorado law, filed suit in district court in April, after the Montrose County Housing Authority yanked his voucher because he was using pot contrary to federal regulations for the voucher program.

Hewitt is seeking the voucher’s reinstatement, a prohibition against future cancellation based on medical marijuana use, and findings that Montrose County Housing Authority staff members failed to comport with due process of law, as well as abused their discretion.

The MCHA’s response says Hewitt didn’t state a claim for which relief can be granted; that the local court lacks jurisdiction and the pre-emption of federal over state law bars him from recovering the voucher.

Housing authority attorney John Fleming’s response confessed that medical marijuana is legal under Colorado’s constitution, but said that “such use is not guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution and such use violates federal law and the federal regulations governing the housing program.”

Hewitt lost his housing voucher in March over his medical marijuana use, and his appeal to the housing authority failed. According to court records, he now lives in a fifth-wheel trailer.

Attempts to contact Hewitt directly were unsuccessful, as no one answered his phone and his voicemail was full.

The district court stayed the cancellation of the voucher on May 21. The order required the MCHA to provide Hewitt with a voucher for rental assistance until the housing authority's decision was resolved by the court.

According to the file, MCHA's director, Tim Heavers, said the temporary voucher - which cannot be issued without state approval - was in the system and he expected it by June 10. According to Hewitt attorney Brad Switzer's motion, the voucher hadn't been received as of June 18.

Switzer fiiled a contempt citation June 23 and a June 26 status conference was continued to July 30.

Hewitt previously told the Daily Press he feared the MCHA was engaging in a "witch hunt" that would in intimidate other medical marijuana users who have Section 8 housing.

Heavers said at the time he could not comment on specific cases, but that the housing authority was forced to follow strict federal guidelines in administering the voucher program.

In a separate and earlier action, Hewitt filed a housing discrimination complaint with the Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity. It contends the MCHA knew he was a medical marijuana patient months before he went public in February, and denied him reasonable accommodation for his disability (muscular dystrophy).

The status of that case was not known Friday.

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Officials deny sick Vancouver woman's bid to smoke pot

Postby palmspringsbum » Thu Aug 27, 2009 9:54 pm

The Vancouver Sun wrote:Officials deny sick Vancouver woman's bid to smoke pot in apartment


By Kimberly Shearon, The Province
July 3, 2009


<table class="posttable" align="right" width="300"><tr><td class="postcell"><img class="postimg" src="bin/holsten_marilyn.jpg" width="300"></td></tr><tr><td class="postcell"><span class="postcap">Marilyn Holsten outside VGH after completing one of her 5 day a week dialysis treatments, Vancouver, July 02. She is facing eviction due to her use of medical marijuana which she uses to combat ghost pain from her leg amputations.</span></td></tr></table>Marilyn Holsten’s hopes of keeping her Vancouver apartment have gone up in smoke.

Holsten, a 49-year-old diabetic and double-leg amputee, has been battling her landlord since April 2008 over her right to smoke medicinal marijuana in her home.

At a B.C. Residential Tenancy Branch arbitration hearing June 29, Holsten’s bid to keep her home was denied.

She must vacate her apartment — where she has lived for the past decade — by Sept. 30.

“They say it’s a non-biased thing, the arbitration, but they wouldn’t let me or my lawyer get a word in edgewise,” Holsten said Thursday.

“Right from the get-go I knew I was going to lose.”

The Anavets Senior Citizens Housing Society, which runs Holsten’s apartment building in the 900-block East 8th Avenue, is evicting her on grounds that her marijuana use pollutes air in the building.

The society could not be reached for comment Thursday.

Holsten is in a wheelchair. She said she uses the drug to manage her pain levels. Since her last eviction notice, she has obtained Health Canada’s authorization to use marijuana for medicinal purposes, which protects her from prosecution.

Holsten also uses a vaporizer for her marijuana so the smell will not bother others. None of this, she said, was taken into consideration during the arbitration hearing, which was conducted over the phone.

Calls to the tenancy branch were not returned.

Kirk Tousaw, who represents Holsten, said he was “disappointed” by how the proceedings went.

“She is being discriminated against by her landlord because of her disability and her choice of medicine.”

Tousaw said he and Holsten are considering taking the case to court or filing a human-rights complaint.

Holsten, who spends five afternoons a week in dialysis, said she does not have friends or family who can support her if she cannot find a new place to live.

There are 150 people on B.C. Housing’s wait-list for wheelchair-accessible accommodations in the Metro Vancouver area.

She said she is counting on B.C. Housing’s help, but is worried she might be left out in the cold because of her marijuana use.

B.C. Housing does not admit people who engage in criminal activity, including drug use. The stress of the situation has caused Holsten to lose 15 pounds in three weeks.

She now weighs less than 90 pounds. “This [situation] could kill me,” she said. “I have to fight.”

For The Record: An earlier version of this story made reference to an ombudsman in the headline. Marilyn Holsten’s bid to smoke medicinal marijuana in her apartment has never involved the B.C. Ombudsman's office.
© Copyright (c) The Province

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Pot-battle double-amputee Marilyn Holsten dies homeless

Postby palmspringsbum » Thu Aug 27, 2009 9:59 pm

The Province wrote:Pot-battle double-amputee Marilyn Holsten loses her last fight

<span class="postbigbold">Heart attack fells woman who contested eviction for smoking pot</span>

By Andy Ivens, The Province
August 26, 2009


Marilyn Holsten's last days on Earth were a living hell, according to her sister, Moira O'Neill.

In frail health, the almost-blind, diabetic double-amputee was ordered evicted from her apartment because of her need to smoke marijuana to control her pain.

Holsten, 48, died earlier this month from a heart attack.

"For a whole year, it went on. It was an unbelievable way to treat someone in her health," said O'Neill.

Holsten lived in a building operated by Anavets Senior Citizens Housing Society in the 900-block East 8th Avenue in Vancouver.

Many of her neighbours told her they did not smell marijuana coming from her apartment, her sister said. But, even though Holsten eventually obtained legal permission to smoke marijuana to deal with excruciating phantom pains, Anavets sought her eviction because of the smell of pot.

"It was a witcRating 2 unt," said O'Neill, who said her sister had to move from her fifth-floor apartment to a ground-floor suite two years ago, after her first leg amputation, for her own safety.

"They knew she smoked marijuana before she moved down to the other suite," said O'Neill.

"She was in the hospital most of the time, with her amputation -- she was gone five days a week, in dialysis six hours a day."

Holsten fought her eviction at a B.C. Residential Tenancy Branch arbitration hearing in June, but lost.

The night before she died, Holsten visited her older sister.

"We resolved that she was going to stay with me in my small one-bedroom apartment," said O'Neill.

"She couldn't take opiates, they made her totally unable to function. Morphine made her throw up, and she was a diabetic, so she had to eat all the time."

O'Neill said her sister "yelled and screamed before she died," but help came too late to save her.

"It's pretty unjust, what happened. She was a fighter," said O'Neill, who picked up her sister's ashes Tuesday.

"She was extremely independent all her life."

O'Neill says her sister was also "a beautiful person" who loved life and her three parrots.

"She had an art project she was working on. She had plans to continue her education. She was an inspirational person," said O'Neill.

"I'm missing her, but I know she's got her toes back and is wiggling them in heaven."

aivens@theprovince.com
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Protest aims to force out 'cruel' housing-group head

Postby palmspringsbum » Fri Aug 28, 2009 9:46 am

The Province wrote:Protest aims to force out 'cruel' housing-group head

<span class=postbigbold>Evicted woman's death senseless -- activists</span>

By Andy Ivens, The Province
August 28, 2009 7:52 AM


Diabetic double-leg amputee Marilyn Holsten may have lost her life while fighting eviction for smoking medical marijuana at home, but her struggle survives.

Supporters of medical-marijuana patients' rights reacted with sadness and anger at the news of her death Aug. 7.

They are organizing a rally next Wednesday, from noon to 6 p.m., in front of the Anavets Senior Citizens Housing Society building in the 900-block East 8th Avenue in Vancouver, where Holsten lived for eight years before being told she had to leave.

"We're counting on quite a crowd," pot activist Marc Emery said Thursday. "A lot of people who are similarly disabled will be there.

"It bodes poorly for many people if they can be evicted for such trivial reasons when their health is at stake — such that they might even die," said Emery, who for decades has campaigned for the legalization of marijuana.

"Our goal is to force the CEO of [Anavets] to resign. What [that person] did was cruel and unfair and inhumane."

Holsten was in frail health for the past five years, her sister Moira O'Neill told The Province this week. The 48-year-old had both legs amputated, was partially blind and needed dialysis five days a week. She died of a heart attack.

When Emery, who next month is expected to begin serving a five-year sentence in a U.S. jail for selling marijuana seeds, heard about Holsten's plight earlier this year, he gave her a vaporizer, allowing her to inhale vaporized marijuana without creating smoke.

He also paid for a lawyer to fight Holsten's eviction at a B.C. Residential Tenancy Branch arbitration hearing in June, which she lost.

"She had a legal right to have [medical pot]. She obviously had a tremendous need," said Emery.

"It would be a bad neighbour, a bad landlord and certainly a poor human being to expel someone for such a trivial reason.

"Her expulsion created such stress for her that it possibly led to her death."

Emery's outrage was echoed Thursday by Jacob Hunter of the B.C. Compassion Society.

"Her imminent eviction ... was a cruel situation that highlights the need for serious reform of tenancy laws," Hunter said in a statement.

"These laws must protect the constitutional rights of those who are living with serious illnesses and conditions to be able to use the medicine of their choice without facing sanctions that would further threaten their health and wellbeing."

aivens@theprovince.com
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Some Colo. medical-pot users face eviction

Postby palmspringsbum » Fri Aug 28, 2009 2:06 pm

The Denver Post wrote:<table class="posttable" align="right" width="300"><tr><td class="postcell"><img class="postimg" width="300" src="bin/hewitt_bill.jpg"></tr></td><tr><td class="postcell"><span class="postcap">Medical-marijuana user Bill Hewitt hugs his dog Buddy at his trailer in Olathe earlier this month. Hewitt, who has muscular dystrophy, was forced to move to a cheap trailer home after his eviction from federal housing due to his pot use. (William Woody, Special to The Denver Post )</span></td></tr></table>
Some Colo. medical-pot users face eviction
<span class="postbigbold">Disabled who use drug face eviction at federally subsidized housing</span>

By Nancy Lofholm | The Denver Post
Posted: 08/28/2009 01:00:00 AM MDT
Updated: 08/28/2009 10:28:16 AM MDT


OLATHE — Bill Hewitt's thrice-daily medicine is laid out on a tiny table in his trailer: a couple of marijuana buds alongside a glass pipe and a Zippo lighter.

Hewitt, who suffers from muscular dystrophy, is a card-carrying medical- marijuana user. And he is living in this worn-down travel trailer because he was evicted from federally subsidized housing on account of his marijuana use.

The difference between Colorado's legal acceptance of marijuana for medical use and federal law, which categorizes marijuana as an illegal drug, is resulting in a housing quandary for the disabled.

Even with the state's OK to use medical marijuana, people such as Hewitt can't live in federal housing or receive federal subsidies for rent under the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's Housing Choice Voucher Program.

Hewitt and another medical-marijuana user from Durango have challenged that policy with HUD's fair-housing division and in court. The policy has drawn lawsuits in at least two of the other 13 states that allow medical-marijuana use. But so far HUD has prevailed. HUD officials stress they have no choice in the matter.

"HUD lawyers are very clear about this. There is not to be any substance abuse in federal housing or voucher housing," said Teresa Duran, interim director of the Colorado Division of Housing. "Until the federal laws change, we have to abide by that."

There is no data to say how widespread the problem is. HUD officials say they don't track evictions or complaints tied to medical- marijuana use.

Medical-marijuana users and suppliers say it is common and becoming more so.

"It's safe to say this is a growing problem. We're going to encounter it more," said Brian Vicente, executive director of Sensible Colorado, a nonprofit resource for medical- marijuana users.

Hewitt said he knows three other disabled users in federally subsidized housing in the small town of Olathe who plan to move into his trailer park rather than fight HUD rules.

"It's disgusting. Most disabled can't afford a house, so they get assistance. These people should not be thrown in the street because they use a medication that alleviates pain," Hewitt said.

He said he received an eviction notice this spring, a day after HUD inspectors looked over his rental house and told him everything was satisfactory. He said he gave them a copy of his medical-marijuana card months before that.

But Tim Heavers, director of the Montrose County Housing Authority, said all residents of federally subsidized housing or those who are receiving housing vouchers for private rentals are warned up front about illegal drug use.

Hewitt said he may have received that warning, but Colorado voters legalized the use of medical marijuana in 2000.

Hewitt said smoking marijuana has allowed him to cut out many prescription medications with bad side effects. He said he no longer uses tranquilizers, muscle relaxers, sleeping pills and a nerve drug. He still takes medications for his heart, bladder and stomach and a half dose of the painkiller methadone.

Travis Chambers, who owns God's Gift, a medical- marijuana dispensary in Clifton, said that points to the irony in the federal housing rules.

"You can sit there and do morphine and Oxycontin and all the other heavy drugs you want," he said. "But not marijuana."

Chris Hermes with Americans for Safe Access called the HUD denials "discrimination."

"Many of these patients have no options for where they consume their medical marijuana. They are disabled," Hermes said.

In Durango, Vietnam veteran Andrew Rizzo said he was evicted from a federally subsidized housing complex after other residents complained about the odor of marijuana smoke from his apartment. He said it is not feasible to go somewhere else to smoke it, nor to use a different delivery method such as balms, tinctures or pills, because they don't have the same effect.

While the issue works its way through the bureaucracy, Hewitt is fearing winter in his little trailer. He said the owner has told him it will be like an icebox. And he has to make his way about 50 yards across a lot to use a restroom in a former gas station.

"It's a lot harder than living in a house," he said. "But the peace and the freedom is so worth it."

Nancy Lofholm: 970-256-1957 or nlofholm@denverpost.com
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Pot user evicted from courthouse steps

Postby palmspringsbum » Thu Jul 07, 2011 10:02 pm

Pot user evicted from courthouse steps

The Standard - 4 Jul 11
http://www.stcatharinesstandard.ca/Arti ... ?e=3198871


A St. Catharines woman evicted in a dispute over medical marijuana has been told by police to move her courthouse vigil — and her makeshift home — elsewhere.

Kelly Kirby, a medical cannabis user who was locked out of her apartment by the city after police found plants growing inside, has spent most of the past week living outside the Robert SK Welch Courthouse in protest. Monday, though, she and a group of supporters planned to move to Montebello Park after police asked her to leave.

Niagara Regional Police on the scene Monday said regular visitors to the courthouse were growing uneasy with Kirby's vigil and they'd been asked by the Ontario Attorney General's office to move her. Her belongings had been piled in a shaded area by the courthouse's entrance, with a bench made up as a bed, surrounded by protest signs decrying her lockout.

"They threw her out on the street," supporter Mike Thomas of the group Dads for Marijuana said. "Now they're throwing her even further out on the street, if that's possible."

The fight has drawn the attention of medical cannabis supporters online, said St. Catharines native Matt Mernagh, who was at the centre of the court case that saw Canada's medical marijuana program declared unconstitutional. He said some form of rally to support Kirby could be coming soon.

Kirby, who is in her 40s, was locked out last week along with her son and fellow resident Terry Tout, who has terminal cancer. She spent about a week camping out at the courthouse before being asked to move.

It's taken a toll, Thomas said. He said Kirby hadn't slept in three days as of Monday morning.

"I see a woman that's under severe mental duress," he said. "I see a family that's been torn apart over a legal prescription medication.

"She's in a lot of pain. A lot of pain."

Kirby showed a Standard reporter a medical marijuana licence last week with an expiration date of August 2011. She said she didn't have a grower's licence, but claimed her doctor told her to grow her own.

NRP Sgt. Todd Anderson said the Attorney General's office asked that Kirby be given the boot, though he said she and her supporters had been well-behaved.

"She was afforded the opportunity to be here, to get out here message," he said.

But "other people that have a lawful right to use the building are starting to feel uncomfortable."

He said staying at the park should pose little problem so long as the protesters stick to the rules.

Mernagh, who had charges of marijuana production and possession against him thrown out in a landmark ruling in April, said discomfort is the whole point.

"The idea is to make the people uncomfortable because they made (her) uncomfortable when they evicted (her)," he said.

Now living in Toronto, Mernagh said he's followed Kirby's situation online. So are many others, he said, adding that he expected action.

"I see, sooner than later, something happening in front of the courthouse," he said, though nothing had been set up yet.

He said small cannabis-growing setups in home bedrooms aren't really a problem, though large-scale commercial ones would be.

Tout, who said his health keeps him from joining the overnight vigil, chafed at Kirby's eviction. He said she wasn't causing trouble and had kept the area clean.

"We're still here in the street and treated like we're not worth (crap)," he said.

"I can't sleep at night because I'm worried about her."

He stressed that there's a difference between using cannabis medicinally and smoking it recreationally. The vigil, he said, is for the former.

"I think doing it to get high is stupid," he said.

"People coming around just to get high in this environment defeats what we're trying to do."

Mernagh couched the vigil as a potential win for medical marijuana.

"I think what she is doing is, she's out there fighting and people are watching online," he said.

"Any time they're paying attention, you're winning."

jbolichowski@stcatharinesstandard.ca
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This Bud’s Not For You

Postby palmspringsbum » Thu Jul 07, 2011 10:06 pm

This Bud’s Not For You

June 29th, 2011 COREY PAUL
Willamette Week: http://www.wweek.com/portland/article-1 ... r_you.html

Two of the city’s public-housing agencies have told their tenants they cannot smoke medical marijuana in their apartments and houses.


The warnings from REACH Community Development and Home Forward (formerly known as the Housing Authority of Portland) have drawn a line for the first time as the federal government continues to apply pressure to limit use of medical marijuana in Oregon.

Home Forward has started telling tenants of its 6,200 units that smoking medical marijuana in their residences could get them evicted, even if they had been given prior permission to do so. But they can use medical marijuana in other forms. The letter says the ban will start in November.

REACH has gone a step further, telling residents they cannot use medical marijuana in any form if their unit receives a federal subsidy or if they rely on a Section 8 housing voucher, also funded by a federal program.

REACH officials didn’t return calls from WW.

But Dianne Quast, Home Forward’s director of real estate, says her organization has been waiting for federal guidance out of fear it would violate state law if it denied tenants the right to use medical marijuana, or federal law if it allowed such use.

She says Home Forward simply decided to fold marijuana into its general nonsmoking policy, which it put in place a year and a half ago.

“We were stuck between two laws,” Quast says.

The housing providers’ notices follow a series of warnings to states from U.S. attorneys, including Oregon’s Dwight Holton, that medical-marijuana dispensaries may violate federal drug laws.

“It’s really disappointing, and I’m not sure, frankly, that it’s lawful or constitutional,” says Leland Berger, a lawyer who helped draft Oregon’s medical marijuana law and now represents patients and providers statewide.
“It wouldn’t surprise me to see more litigation.”

Marijuana is still illegal under federal law, and that’s meant federal agencies and U.S. prosecutors have been at odds with state and local governments in the 16 states and District of Columbia where the drug is approved for use.

Early in the Obama administration, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said the U.S. Justice Department would not interfere with medical-marijuana operations under state law.

But this year, the Justice Department signaled a change, telling governors of medical-marijuana states it would do more to police the drug’s use.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, or HUD, sent a memo in January to organizations it subsidizes, says Donna White, national spokeswoman for the agency. In Oregon, those agencies run about 44,000 housing units, home to between 88,000 and 132,000 people.

In the memo, HUD leaves the decision to evict medical-marijuana users to housing providers, but it forbids them from granting “reasonable accommodation” for its use. Reasonable accommodation protects people with a disability from eviction—until now, that included anyone with a medical-marijuana card.

Home Forward says it won’t seek any evictions. REACH’s ban on medical marijuana in any form in its HUD-subsidized properties could mean users would be kicked out.

HUD also directs housing providers to deny applicants who disclose they use medical marijuana. For Home Forward, that means it must also deny such applicants for Section 8 vouchers, which subsidize rent for private properties.

“So we simply don’t ask,” Quast says.

Leland Jones, HUD’s regional spokesman in Seattle, says the memo stems from his agency’s efforts to clarify federal policy toward medical marijuana as states expand its use.

“It’s important that all partners receiving federal assistance know what our rules of the game are,” Jones says.

Some housing providers were probably confused before the memo, he adds.

Some still are. Human Solutions is a Portland-based nonprofit that accepts Section 8 vouchers, but officials there don’t know what the policy means for them.

“We are aware of the ruling, but it was unclear from our point of view whether it was imposed on us,” says Jean DeMaster, Human Solutions’ director. “As a result, we’ll continue to serve people who use medical marijuana as long as they have the marijuana card.”
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