MADISON, Maine (NEWS CENTER) --- A man who uses medical marijuana in Madison now has to make a hard choice before the end of July: stop growing medical marijuana or lose a federal subsidy to help pay his rent.
50-year-old Don LaRouche of Madison has been using medicinal marijuana for the last five years. Under Maine law he's been licensed by the state to use it and grow it. Recently the drug has been causing a rift between him and the organization he counts on for housing assistance.
LaRouche suffers from glaucoma and Crohn's disease. He grows marijuana in his trailer home, which he pays rent monthly on using federal vouchers from the Maine State Housing Authority. Recently the organization sent LaRouche a letter asking him not to grow medical marijuana in his trailer or he'll lose his aid.
Officials with the housing authority say they have the power to deny or allow vouchers for medical marijuana patients now in the voucher program, but because it's a federal program, the housing authority says it is sensitive to the fact that federal law doesn't recognize the legal use of medical marijuana.
"The decision we're presented is whether to terminate or allow them to continue to receive that voucher," said Denise Lord, who is the director of the 'Maine State Housing Authority's Voucher Assistance Program', "I think given Maine law and federal law we try to find the best possible solution for everyone."
"It is the cheapest way to do it is to grow your own," remarked LaRouche, "course it costs me money but it's cheaper then me having to go out and buy it off the street or especially going to the dispensary."
LaRouche has to agree to stop growing marijuana by July 23rd. He says he has already sent letters to Governor LePage's office and members of the state's congressional delegation asking for their help.