Woman alleges medical marijuana use in HUD-subsidized apartment led to eviction

By Charmaine Little | Jul 10, 2018

SAN FRANCISCO – A woman at risk of losing her home because she uses medical marijuana and lives in a Housing Urban Development (HUD)-subsidized complex sued President Donald Trump and other federal agencies for allegedly having contradictory stances on cannabis.

Emma Nation filed a suit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California on July 2 naming as defendants the Food and Drug Administration, the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development, and Humboldt Bay Housing Development Corp., plus others.

Nation alleges she uses edible marijuana to treat her severe depression and anxiety and said she received an eviction notice from Humboldt after a maintenance man discovered the substance in her bedroom. The suit states the housing complex stated that having the substance is a violation of HUD guidelines and mentioned it was at risk of losing its HUD status if it allowed Nation and her teenage daughter to stay. As of now, Nation has until July 10 to move out.

Nation said the basis of her lawsuit is the inconsistency between the federal government’s decision to ban cannabis under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) and its recent approval of a prescription drug, Epidiolex, which was developed with cannabis. She alleges the federal government’s stance on not allowing cannabis products has caused a “green rush,” an inflation of marijuana prices, which she alleges has led to more crime in the area as well as detrimentally impacted wildlife such as animals, fish, plants and waters.

In her first claim, she said the defendants violated her rights under the Ninth Amendment. She quoted the portion of the law that reads, “The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.” 

Nation stated treating medical issues with cannabis within the privacy of her home is an un-enumerated right she has. She argued the government’s ban of cannabis infringes on this right.

In her second claim, she alleged the defendants violated the Fifth Amendment concerning due process and equal protection. Nation said her life, liberty, and property have been impacted as she could lose her federally subsidized housing because she treats her condition with medical marijuana. 

For the third claim, Nation alleged she was a victim of unlawful search and seizure. She said the federal government’s ban and HUD’s no-tolerance perception has caused landlords to perform illegal searches and seizures without having a warrant, including seizing her housing altogether.

For her fourth claim, Nation said her First Amendment rights were violated because she and others in her condition have been scared out of expressing their rights as users of medical marijuana and their stance that cannabis is a medicine. 

She requested relief and asked the court to declare the defendants infringed on the amendments and laws mentioned above. She also asked the court to enjoin defendants from violating the Constitution, stop HUD from denying access to those who use medical marijuana, and declare the CSA as it pertains to medical marijuana as unconstitutional.

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