Public housing residents and activists are upset in Chicago, Illinois in light of the news that public housing residents will still be breaking the law if they consume medical or recreational cannabis.
According to Curbed Chicago, even though Illinois is about to legalize recreational cannabis starting on Jan. 1, 2020, residents who live in public housing in Illinois could still face legal consequences. There are certain things that residents aren’t allowed to have in their possession or imbibe while they live in public housing units. The Chicago Housing Authority (CHA) manages 63,000 households in the state of Illinois and is the third largest housing agency in the U.S.
A notice was sent last week to residents who receive housing benefits through the CHA. The memo claimed that CHA could end all housing assistance if any household residents or guests possess or use recreational cannabis.
“While federal law prohibits marijuana use and possession in federally subsidized housing, the CHA is working to educate and inform residents so they understand all applicable laws related to cannabis and federally-funded housing,” the notice states. “The CHA will work with the city of Chicago as it develops rules and regulations in accordance with existing state and federal laws in order to ensure a safe and responsible implementation of legalized cannabis in Chicago on January 1, 2020.”
This certainly isn’t the first time that Chicago has had debates about recreational cannabis. In addition to the housing issue, there has been much discussion about whether certain areas in downtown Chicago should or should not allow legal cannabis. This is such a charged issue because, like New York, Chicago has a history of targeting people of color with cannabis busts. It remains to be seen how the city will handle its cannabis industry in the coming year.