Congressional bill seeks to prevent evictions for cannabis extraction in legal states

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Landlords in legal states would be prevented from kicking out renters manufacturing cannabis extracts

The current discrepancy between federal law and the states with legal cannabis legislation sometimes leaves loose ends that need further fixing. There is a new congressional bill to promote affordable housing in the US that comes with a provision that would forbid landlords from evicting people who manufacture marijuana extracts under a legal license. This bill is sponsored by Senator Jeff Merkley and includes a list of “just causes for eviction,” such as not paying rent or damaging the property allegedly. It also lists the “manufacture of a cannabinoid extract” as another reason for eviction, applicable “unless the tenant holds a license to manufacture the cannabinoid extract under Federal, State or Tribal law.”

Perhaps since the main focus of the bill was not the issues around cannabis, some other activities that could end up in an eviction were also left out. The bill doesn’t mention additional protections for other cannabis-related activities such as possession. Actually, another provision right above that one states that “the unlawful manufacture, delivery, or possession of a controlled substance” can be another reason for eviction and this one doesn’t contain any exceptions for state-legal activity. Even though more states are working on a full cannabis legislation, under the federal Controlled Substances Act remains as an “unlawful” activity.

Even though cannabis advocates applaud any effort that includes an additional provision in favor of cannabis, most eviction processes are handled directly with the state, so the scope of this provision is not really impactful. This is just one provision of a comprehensive bill that aims to “address the shortcomings of our current housing policies and funding levels by holistically addressing disparities and systematic obstacles and ensuring an equitable outcome for the most vulnerable Americans.”