Health News

Mar 19, 2012 12:28 AM by Jacqui Heinrich

MMJ user denied apartment rental

"I have kidney disease, hardening of the arteries, muscular dystrophy," Anthony Martino says, leaning on his cane. All that and epilepsy, a stroke, and a heart condition make him a candidate for medical marijuana. "I'm totally, 100% disabled."

But the very thing that his doctors prescribed Martino to keep him comfortable is now preventing him from finding a home. His daughter was trying to help him lease an apartment at Minnequa Shores in Pueblo when they were told about the zero drug tolerance policy. "She said they have a specific addendum to the lease regarding medical marijuana and that anyone with a medical marijuana license is not able to live here," Martina Martino tells News 5. "We went from being people that were going to be welcomed into their community to all the sudden we were pariahs."

Minnequa Shores' attorney says the complex does lease to MMJ patients, but tenants can't use the medicine on their property- prompting the Martinos to call foul on account of discrimination.

But tenant attorney Claudia Abernathy says the legal gray area surrounding medical marijuana makes it hard to tell who is in the right. "There are tenants that do not want MMJ users living next door to them and having the smell of the marajuana going into their unit," she says. And though federal law protects the apartment's right to ban drugs, Colorado laws make it legal for people like Martino to use marijuana. "You have to balance in the law whose right is greater: my right to live without your problem or your right to medicate yourself," Abernathy explains.

Because it's a question that hasn't gone before any judge, there is still no right answer- leaving Martino without a place to live.



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