EBT cards can be used at marijuana shops

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The weed is being freed in some states by people using EBT cards. (Dan Honda/Bay Area News Group/MCT)
The weed is being freed in some states by people using EBT cards. (Dan Honda/Bay Area News Group/MCT)

Some say the weed is being freed by people using EBT cards at legal marijuana shops. (Dan Honda/Bay Area News Group/MCT)

Most Americans think marijuana should be legalized.

There’s no poll on this but I think most of those same Americans would think marijuana should not be purchased with welfare funds.

But, that can happen in states that have legalized marijuana, according to a story on The Washington Times website.

An Alabama Republican, Sen. Jeff Sessions, is eager to close the “welfare-for-weed” loophole, he said Tuesday.

Sessions said the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services told him EBT cards, the debit cards used by those eligible for food stamps and cash assistance, can be used at legal marijuana shops.

The secretary of HHS, which oversees the food stamp program, told Sessions in a letter that Colorado is considering a law that would make it illegal for welfare recipients to withdraw cash at marijuana shops using their EBT cards, but HHS “has no authority to prescribe policies and practices … to prohibit the use of TANF benefit cards at marijuana stores.”

How much weed has been purchased via welfare?

No idea. I’ve not read a confirmed report of that happening and the federal government does not report where EBT cards are used or what they purchase.

I doubt the weed loophole it is a huge cash burner, but if your long-term unemployed cousin drives his 2001 Pontiac Aztec out to the Mile High City for a quick visit and complains about his Phish CD skipping the whole way there and back you are allowed to be suspicious.

Who do we have to blame for the legal marijuana loophole?

Congress, in 2012, passed laws preventing EBT cards from being used at “vice institutions” such as liquor stores, strip clubs and casinos, but did not include marijuana shops on the list of prohibited stores.

I’m not a senator, but if I was I would not pass laws that banned EBT cards from being used in specific businesses because new types of businesses are popping up all the time.

Why not make it so EBT cards can only be used at major grocery stores?

I guess that’s too simple. Feel free to tell me why my idea stinks in the comments.

NOTE: An earlier version of this blog said marijuana could be purchased with “food stamps” but has been changed to say some cash is suspected of being withdrawn at marijuana stores via EBT cards, which can be used for both food purchases (SNAP) or cash withdrawals (TANF).

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