The Jefferson City Housing Authority Board of Commissioners is considering prohibiting current residents and applicants from using medical marijuana in public housing and tax-credit units.
Board members discussed the Missouri voter-approved legalization of medical marijuana at Tuesday's meeting.
Housing Authority Executive Director Cynthia Quetsch said the organization is concerned about funding from U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
"HUD Office of Public Housing is very clear on what the policy should be in public housing," Quetsch said. "Medical marijuana is not permitted in housing because marijuana is a controlled substance under federal law. Use of it is regulated, so their position is that any applicant coming in who says they're going to be using medical marijuana should be denied."
The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration lists marijuana as a Schedule I substance.
The Housing Authority provides housing for 997 families, which receive a subsidy from HUD.
"Under the no smoking policy, you can't smoke tobacco, and I've been listening to several webinars who are suggesting to go ahead and add marijuana in that (policy) too because the whole issue of not smoking is the secondhand smoke and the ramifications and damage to the apartment from smoking," Quetsch said.
Smoking cigarettes, cigars, pipes, water pipes, e-cigarettes and vape pens is prohibited inside all Housing Authority units.
The Housing Authority also has 302 tax-credit units through the Missouri Housing Development Commission. Those units would also be affected if the policy changes.
"MHDC has said you need to adopt a policy that complies with federal and state law," Quetsch said.
Medical marijuana can be used through edibles, CBD oils and other methods.
Missouri patients can obtain identification cards for medical marijuana.
"I don't know when the feds are going to get in line with the state," Housing Authority Board Commissioner Larry Vincent said. "I don't think we can jeopardize our income from HUD. It's a real mess. I don't know how we're going to control it."
The commission plans to review a policy prohibiting medical marijuana at its Sept. 24 meeting.
"I think this is going to become an issue," Quetsch said. "I think there are going to be people who have followed the procedure and have gotten something from the doctors, and it's just a question of do we want them using it in their units."
In July, the Jefferson City Council approved medical marijuana dispensaries — medical marijuana retail establishments — for operation in C-1 Neighborhood Commercial and C-2 General Commercial zoning districts.
Jefferson City Council approves medical marijuana dispensaries in commercial districtsRead more
In May, the City Council approved a bill allowing medical marijuana cultivation and testing facilities, along with medical marijuana-infused products manufacturing facilities in M-1 Light Industrial and M-2 General Industrial zoning districts.
A medical marijuana cultivation facility is a facility that farms, stores, transports and sells medical marijuana.
A medical marijuana testing facility is a facility that acquires, tests, certifies and transports medical marijuana.
A medical marijuana-infused products manufacturing facility is a facility that specializes in marijuana-infused products.
These facilities are not allowed within 1,000 feet of any then-existing secondary or elementary schools, child care centers or churches in Jefferson City.
In other business Tuesday, the commission was updated on Capital City Apartments, which were damaged in the May 22 tornado.
The Housing Authority is in discussion with the insurance company on window replacements, Quetsch said. The roof replacements on damaged buildings have taken place.
"Until we have windows, we can't do siding," she said.
Tenants of the building evacuated after the tornado are hopeful to come back when all units are restored, Quetsch said.