Last Tuesday, The House passed a bill that could it harder for welfare recipients to buy marijuana is states where marijuana is legalized.
Nicknamed the “No Welfare for Weed Bill”, the bill would barred the use of welfare debit card (EBT card) in stores that sell marijuana. The bill would also prevent the use of cash withdrawal from ATM in those stores.
Rep. Dave Reichert, R-Wash., is the main sponsor of the bill. He said it is a logical extension of existing law now that Washington State and Colorado have legalized marijuana for recreational use.
“The fact that some people are using welfare for weed is outrageous,” Reichert said in a statement. “While some may decide to spend their own money on drugs, we’re not going to give them a taxpayer subsidy to do it.”
The House passed the bill on a voice vote, which does not require lawmakers to cast a recorded vote.
The reach of the bill would be limited, however, because pot smokers could still use their benefit cards to get cash from an ATM at a different store or bank, and then use the money to buy marijuana.
Officially named “The Preserving Welfare for Needs Not Weed Act”, this bill is aimed at placing medical marijuana is the same prohibited category as liquor stores, casinos and strip clubs; places that that were banned from accepting purchase via ENT cards by a federal law in 2012.
Primary areas that would be affected by this “No Welfare for Weed Bill” are Colorado and Washington. Of the 3.6 million families who are on federal government welfare, 45,000 live in Colorado and 99,000 live in Washington.