SILVER CITY -- A handicapped Silver City woman says she is being discriminated against because she has medical marijuana in her home and was told to move out of her apartment as a result.
Bobbie Wooten, who lives in the Silver Cliffs apartments in Silver City, said an apartment management representative performed a surprise inspection on Tuesday and discovered two marijuana plants. According to Wooten, the representative left and came back a short while later and gave her a notice telling her she had three days to move out.
"People like me who have to use this ( marijuana ) are being discriminated against," Wooten said. "I am doing this lawfully, not sneaking around the dark alleys looking for a drug dealer."
The eviction is within the terms of the lease, said a spokesman for the Arizona realty company that manages the property.
"My lease provides for a drug-free environment," said David Kotin of Kay-Kay Realty. "Obviously, she is in violation of my lease."
He declined to comment further.
Wooten noted that her apartment was inspected just a short time prior to the surprise inspection.
Wooten was severely injured in a car crash several years ago and is paralyzed from the waist down and must use a wheelchair.
She suffers from severe spasms and joined the state's Medical Cannabis Program when it went into effect about a year ago. She has a New Mexico license to grow the plants.
Deborah Busemeyer, communications director with the New Mexico Department of Health, confirmed that Wooten is in the program.
"She can possess up to four mature plants," Busemeyer said. "She can also have up to 12 seedlings and up to six ounces of usable medical marijuana." That amount allows the patient to have a three month's supply of usable cannabis.
"We have never had a case like this where someone was told to move out," Busemeyer said of Wooten's eviction.
Wooten said that although she has never tried to hide the plants, under state and federal law she is not required to tell anyone what kind of prescription medication she is taking.
When the Sun-News contacted Silver Cliffs manager Tashanda Gaines, she declined comment.
Wooten said she feels she is also being retaliated against because of a recent Sun-News article where she complained that Gaines told her she could no longer keep her recycle bin. Wooten also complained that the complex had no marked handicapped garbage container.
At that time a spokesperson for Kay-Kay Realty told the Sun-News they were looking into placing a community recycle bin in the complex and they would mark the handicapped waste container as such.
"So they are going to kick me out in the cold right before the holidays," Wooten said. "This is a small town with not many places for a person who is wheelchair-bound to live."
"I am on a fixed income ... Social Security is all I get," she added. "What am I supposed to do?"
Pubdate: Thu, 23 Oct 2008
Author: Sam Conn, Sun-News reporter