Lawmakers Want to Stop Pot Purchases with Food Stamps
An Arizona Republican introduced legislation yesterday to ensure that welfare recipients aren't letting their food stamps go to pot.
Rep. Paul Gosar's (R-Ariz.) bill would "amend the Food and Nutrition Act of 2008 to prohibit the use of benefits to purchase marijuana products, to amend part A of title IV of the Social Security Act to prohibit assistance provided under the program of block grants to States for temporary assistance for needy families from being accessed through the use of an electronic benefit transfer card at any store that offers marijuana for sale."
Co-sponsors are Reps. Ann Kirkpatrick (D-Ariz.), Jimmy Duncan (R-Tenn.), Trent Franks (R-Ariz.), Walt Jones (R-N.C.), and Doug LaMalfa (R-Calif.).
"Regardless of your feelings on States’ Rights, 'medical' marijuana or recreational marijuana, people shouldn’t be able to get high using hard-earned taxpayer money. The sole purpose of this bill is to prohibit marijuana from being purchased with SNAP and TANF benefits," Gosar said.
"These programs are meant to provide subsidies for food and other basic living essentials for the neediest families," he continued. "Unfortunately, there are always unscrupulous people looking for ways to game the system, which makes this commonsense update to federal law necessary. Taxpayers expect and deserve a lean, efficient government. Accordingly, I will do everything in my power to eliminate waste, fraud and abuse whenever possible, including preventing the use of federal welfare benefits to purchase weed."
Gosar launched the legislative effort after a Denver TV station found that people were using their EBT cards to pull money out of ATMs and then go buy pot.
Under current law, you can't withdraw federal assistance funds from ATMs in strip clubs, liquor stores and casinos. The bill would add marijuana dispensaries to the list and also ban purchases of food-related pot items, such as marijuana brownies.