Under current federal law, if you use marijuana—even in a state where it’s legal—you can be barred from federally assisted housing. But a bill introduced by Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) on Tuesday could change that.
The congresswoman announced her intent to file the legislation on April 20. But after several minor changes were made, she’s now formally introduced it.
Today I introduced my bill to allow cannabis use in public housing in DC and states where it’s legal for medical and/or recreational use. I signed the bill with Sondra Battle, a DC resident who lives in Section 8 housing and is prescribed cannabis to treat her fibromyalgia. pic.twitter.com/iyvUzpPMvA
— Eleanor Holmes Norton (@EleanorNorton) June 19, 2018
The signing ceremony took place with two members of the pro-legalization group DCMJ as well as Sondra Battle, a D.C. resident who uses cannabis to treat her fibromyalgia, according to a press release.
“I thank Sondra Battle and our DCMJ advocates for joining me to mark the introduction of what I am calling the ‘Sondra Battle Cannabis Fair Use Act,'” Norton said. “Residents like Sondra should not fear eviction from federally-assisted housing simply for using cannabis to treat their medical conditions.”
“Our bill recognized today’s realities and proven needs. Individuals who live in states where medical and/or recreational marijuana is legal, but live in federally-assisted housing, should have the same access to treatment as their neighbors.”
Though Norton previously emphasized that medical marijuana patients would be the sole beneficiaries of the proposed legislation, the amended proposal includes adult users in recreational states as well:
“A public housing agency or an owner of federally assisted housing may not establish standards prohibiting admission to the program or federally assisted housing to any household with a member who engages in the use, distribution, possession, or cultivation of marihuana… in compliance with the law of the State in which such use, distribution, possession, or cultivation takes place.”
In April, when she first announced the bill, Norton said she would also pursue an amendment along similar lines to the House FY 2019 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development appropriations bill. That legislation has already cleared committee without such language, but the congresswoman can still try to attach a cannabis and housing provision when it comes to the House floor.
“Under Norton’s bill, smoking marijuana would be treated the same as smoking tobacco in federally-assisted housing,” the new press release from her office says.
See the full text of Norton’s new bill below: