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Medical cannabis patient “forced out” of hometown over housing battle

Danny Wilson says he is being unfairly treated as a result of his medical cannabis prescription.



Medical cannabis patient "forced out" of hometown over housing battle
Danny Wilson says he is being forced to move away from his hometown of Norwich

A medical cannabis patient says he feels he is being “forced out” of his hometown as a result of unfair discrimination by local authorities

Danny Wilson, who lives in Norwich, says he has no choice but to rebuild his life elsewhere after treatment by local landlords and council officers has “made his life hell”.

The 44-year-old, who is facing eviction from his current property, claims the council is insisting he disclose the fact he is a medical cannabis patient to prospective landlords. 

As a result, he says, all of his applications have been refused.

Wilson, who lives with chronic pain following a car accident several years ago, has been prescribed cannabis by The Medical Cannabis Clinics since 2020.

He survives on employment and disability benefits and is forced to rely on food banks in order to fund his prescription privately. 

Wilson has been served two Section 21 eviction notices from his current tenancy, which the landlord says is due to the property being sold.

However, according to Wilson, the eviction notice only came after he made his cannabis prescription known to the landlord.

Following an inspection, which he says “went badly when he told the agent he was using medical cannabis in the property”, Wilson approached Norwich City Council for help to fund the deposit for a new tenancy.

The council agreed, but has since insisted that he disclose the fact he is a medical cannabis patient, and that he needs to medicate indoors, to prospective landlords.

He says all of his applications have been refused on him disclosing this information, and as a result, he has been prevented from moving from his current home.

“They are treating me differently because of my medication, which they continue to treat as an illicit substance,” Wilson told Cannabis Health. 

“They have made me disclose the fact that I am a medical cannabis user on every application I have made, even though I have informed them it is traumatising me.

“They wouldn’t write to my medical doctor about my case for over a year, and throughout have treated me like a drug user, not a disabled person who is vulnerable and whose life they were making hell.”

Wilson, who vapes cannabis flower to manage his symptoms, says he has been on a number of occasions, if he could medicate outdoors.

One landlord is said to have told him he would not be permitted to vape in the property, as it wouldn’t be “fair” to other tenants. 

“They think it’s unreasonable for me to want to medicate in a safe environment, and to be comfortable,” adds Wilson, who has even installed a carbon filter in his room to mitigate the smell of cannabis.

“There’s nowhere else for me to go, I don’t have a garden and I live on the edge of an estate, the nearest bench is in full view of the public.”

The council is also said to have suggested that he take up residence in a rehab facility for ex-offenders, known locally as House of Genesis. This is despite the fact he has never been charged with a criminal offence.

Wilson, who also has severe anxiety, PTSD and ADHD, says the situation, which has been ongoing for over a year, has exacerbated his mental health issues and left him with physical sores from compulsive scratching as a result of anxiety.

He also claims that he has previously struggled to access mental health services in the area and still cannot access treatment from his local pain clinic, as he is a cannabis patient.

“They have made my mental health 10 times worse – I am broken,” says Wilson, who is now considering moving away from his adopted hometown.

“I just want to rebuild my life somewhere else now, because I’ve had to go through so much here, and it’s degrading,” he adds.

“But I’m devastated because this is my home.”

Cannabis Health has contacted Norwich City Council for comment and to confirm the claims, but has not received a response. 

What the experts say

Stephen Cutter, solicitor and legal services manager for Release, told Cannabis Health: “The laws around prescribed medicinal cannabis are relatively unpublicised, and this could be one reason we see patients suffer from avoidable problems.

“The law is clear in that it treats prescribed medicinal cannabis and ‘illicit’ cannabis, even if used for medical reasons, as two entirely different substances, and both local authorities and private landlords will need to keep this in mind when dealing with patients using their medicine.

“The changes that allowed for prescribed medicinal cannabis, also said that patients weren’t to use it by smoking it though other methods of consumptions, like the use of vaporisers, aren’t restricted.”

He added: “If local authorities are imposing requirements for medicinal cannabis patients to disclose their health conditions and medications to access housing, or if landlords are treating them differently to patients of other medications, then I think those patients could have a range of legal challenges they could explore.

“It’s a huge shame that the stigma that many have towards people who use cannabis is extending now to those using prescription medications.”

Carly Barton, founder of Cancard, an organisation which supports cannabis patients facing discrimination, added that while a housing authority or council may request a copy of a patient’s prescription, they “do not have the right to challenge where the patient is consuming the medicine, so long as it is being consumed as prescribed ie. by a vaporiser.” 

She said: “The regulations here are clear and in this case the patient has the same rights to take their medication as any other prescription medication.”

Patient advocacy group, PLEA (Patient-Led Engagement for Access), is also supporting Wilson with his case.

 A spokesperson said: “Public authorities have a legal duty to respect your human rights as well as follow the Equality Act 2010. This prohibits degrading treatment and discriminating against you as per Article 3, and 14 of the Human Rights Act. 

“PLEA would be concerned to learn of any local authority that would require a disabled patient to disclose their prescribed cannabis and medical condition/s to prospective landlords, in order for them to receive support in gaining access to housing, and in doing so subjecting them to degrading behaviour, which carries the risk of long-lasting psychological harm. 

“If a local authority, has practices, rules, or policies that places disabled patients with cannabis-based prescription medicines, at a particular disadvantage then this could be grounds for discrimination, and we would encourage anyone to seek support in such matters. Especially if this was not, something expected, or required of patients prescribed any other controlled medicines, and as a result the practices, rules or policies, of the local authority places disabled patients with prescriptions for cannabis at a particular disadvantage.

“In this case, PLEA are actively supporting Danny, and will continue to do so until a satisfactory conclusion is reached, and results in Danny being housed in a safe and suitable environment, with the correct support packages in place, to enable Danny to live independently, and without fear of losing his home due to his prescription.”

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Sarah Sinclair is a respected cannabis journalist writing on subjects related to science, medicine, research, health and wellness. She is managing editor of Cannabis Health, the UK’s leading title covering medical cannabis and CBD, and sister titles, Cannabis Wealth and Psychedelic Health. Sarah has an NCTJ journalism qualification and an MA in Journalism from the University of Sunderland. Sarah has over six years experience working on newspapers, magazines and digital-first titles, the last two of which have been in the cannabis sector. She has also completed training through the Medical Cannabis Clinicians Society securing a certificate in Medical Cannabis Explained. She is a member of PLEA’s (Patient-Led Engagement for Access) advisory board, has hosted several webinars on cannabis and women's health and has moderated at industry events such as Cannabis Europa. Sarah Sinclair is the editor of Cannabis Health. Got a story? Email / Follow us on Twitter: @CannabisHNews / Instagram: @cannabishealthmag


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