Commission will take second shot at evicting medicinal pot-growerPublished 4:26pm Tuesday, September 8, 2009
By JESSICA SIEFF
Niles Daily Star
The Niles Housing Commission on Tuesday said it would take a second shot at evicting a resident growing marijuana in a public housing unit for medicinal purposes.
Last week, the commission dismissed its first cast against defendant Steve Allain after he raised “technical and procedural” defenses, according to commission attorney Michael Bell. Bell said Tuesday that the commission will refile their motion Wednesday.
The housing commission served a 14-day eviction notice to Allain in late June. While growing marijuana for medicinal purposes is legal in Michigan, the funding for the housing unit comes from the federal government, which does not allow it.
Refiling the complaint, Bell said, is a way to address all of Allain’s procedural defenses without having both parties argue them in court.
“Rather than allow the argument to be about policy or procedure,” Bell said he wanted to see the issue come down to the matter of the law.
Under the Michigan Medicinal Marijuana Act passed in 2008, those suffering from specified medical conditions and subsequently permitted to take part in the state’s sponsored program are allowed to grow and use marijuana to alleviate symptoms related to those illnesses.
But the state law exists only in the shadow of federal regulations and because the commission’s public housing units fall under federal guidelines the commission believes having the drug on the property is grounds for eviction.
Louis Berra, field office director for the Grand Rapids HUD office said last week that when it comes to federal policy, the stipulations have not changed.
“It’s up to management,” he said. “That no plants are being grown within the unit.”
An eviction was served and months have passed with no resolution to the situation.
It is the matter of the federal law superseding the state law that Bell said he’d like to see focused on.
“Those are the issues that need to be argued,” he said.
Immediately after defenses were raised, Bell said the commission served yet another notice of eviction, a total of 60 days time for the resident to make other arrangements.
Upon refiling, Bell said the court will set a date for an initial hearing. It was his desire, he said, to come to an agreement with opposing counsel to have the motion served and take the matter directly to the court.
“I’m asking the court for this to be based upon the law,” he said.
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