Housing Evictions and Marijuana Users: Landlords Don’t Need To Puff, They Can Choose To Pass On Evictions

Your landlord comes to you and says, “I’m terminating your tenancy. You have three days to leave.” You have nowhere to go. Now imagine that the reason you are being forced to move out is because of your medical treatment. When California’s Compassionate Use Act (CSA) was signed into law in 1996, many people living with serious health conditions took a momentary sigh of relief over this newly acquired right to obtain marijuana for medical purposes. The relief was short-lived as many individuals living with the very conditions this Act was supposed to address also found themselves fighting eviction actions. For these individuals, marijuana has become both a medical blessing and a housing burden. My blog series will evaluate the issues faced by individuals living in federally subsidized housing. I will explain the manner in which Landlords and Public Housing Agencies (PHA) choose to evict tenants living in federally subsidized housing despite the fact that they are not required to do so.

I am a 2nd year law student at Santa Clara University School of Law. Prior to law school, I spent three years working for a non-profit organization advocating on behalf of low-income individuals. In my work, I tracked local zoning and local land-use policies to ensure compliance with Federal and State Anti-Discrimination Laws. My work resulted in community benefits agreements amounting to $100,000.00. I currently work another non-profit agency where I assist in representing clients living with mental health disabilities in all aspects of landlord tenant law. This work has given me the necessary experience and perspective to hold government agencies accountable for their wrongdoings and effectively advocate on behalf of low-income individuals. In other words, I know how to fight and I’m fighting on the right side.

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