VA denies veteran home loan because of his marijuana industry job.

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VA denies veteran home loan because of his marijuana industry job

June 03, 2019 - 2:43 pm

By Ben Krimmel

The Veterans Administration has denied a disabled Massachusetts Army veteran a loan for a low-rate mortgage with no money down because he works in the legal marijuana industry, according to The Boston Globe. 

“I was actually accomplishing a lifelong goal of mine, and then to have it pulled right out from under you at the 11th hour … I was blown away,” said the 35-year-old veteran who spoke to The Boston Globe on condition his name not be used to protect his military relationship. “It was very frustrating and demoralizing.”

When contacted by Rep. Katherine Clark, D-Mass., the VA said it deemed the veteran's source of income not "stable and reliable" enough for a mortgage, The Globe reported. The VA also said if they accepted his application they could be exposed to prosecution for assisting in money laundering since marijuana remains illegal at the federal level.

Clark was outraged when the veteran contacted her office.

“We owe our veterans a great deal of gratitude, but it cannot just be something we say — we have to do it and act on it,” Clark told The Globe. “There had been an injustice here.”

So far 33 states have legalized marijuana in some way, but the federal government classifies it as a Schedule I drug, so the legal marijuana industry has created a thorny issue for veterans and the VA.

Retired Army Maj. Tye Reedy, who served in both Iraq and Afghanistan and won four Bronze Star medals, lost his job at West Point and his military pension because he served as director of operations for a large cannabis company, according to a report in Barron’s.

The Judge Advocate General's office at West Point explained the decision by saying that by working for the marijuana company, Reedy brought "discredit upon the U.S. Military Academy and the Army" and "a military officer working in the cannabis industry runs contrary to Army values."

“I expected pushback,” Reedy told Barron's. “I would have expected a conversation. I was extremely hurt and disappointed at the way this was handled.”

The Globe reports the unnamed Massachusetts veteran will continue to work in the marijuana industry and remains on the house hunt. However, he and his wife will skip the VA home-loan benefit when they apply for a loan next time.

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