Although the federal government prohibits abundance recipients from application their Electronic Account Transfer (EBT) cards to buy liquor, wine, beer, cigarettes, tobacco articles or alike vitamins, in the states of Colorado and Washington area recreational marijuana is legal, abundance allowances can be acclimated to pay for weed. Abnormally enough, while EBT cardholders cannot use their Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) allowances to buy, for example, pet food, or cardboard products, and they cannot use them in band clubs or casinos, currently they can use aborigine adjourned abundance allowances to get stoned.
Ranking affiliate of the Senate Budget Committee, Senator Jeff Sessions (R-Alabama), approved accuracy apropos the credible abridgement of argumentation back it comes to abundance and recreational marijuana. A letter bound to Congress by Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell explains the conundrum. Apparently, there is no law advertence that abundance recipients can use their allowances to acquirement recreational weed, but no accustomed accent is in aftereffect that prohibits such a purchase. Therefore, recreational marijuana dispensaries in Colorado and Washington are not barred from accepting EBT cards as payment.
Clearly, this taxpayer-funded artifice for recreational edger is an blank by the federal government, which can abstain abundance funds from states if they acquiesce EBT cards to be acclimated for lap dances, but has fabricated no accouterment for legalized recreational marijuana. In her letter, Burwell stated, “HHS has no ascendancy to appoint behavior and practices for the states to apparatus in adjustment to prohibit the use of TANF account cards at marijuana stores.” However, she additionally accustomed that this was ambiguous stating, “…any inappropriate amount of accessible funds is a account for concern.” In addition, she acicular to the actuality that alone states accept the ascendancy to acclimatize their protocols apropos marijuana dispensaries. In fact, Colorado assembly are currently analytical legislation that would anticipate the use of EBT cards to acquirement marijuana from dispensaries in the state.
Although the U.S. House of Representative ahead alien agnate legislation, Senator Sessions is planning to acquaint added legislation that will aing the “welfare for weed” loophole. In addition, he intends to militarist eye HHS to accomplish abiding that the government bureau takes the “steps all-important to stop this alarming abusage of taxpayer-funded benefits.” According to Sessions, the “guiding principle” for abundance allowances is that they should be “reserved for those in absolute need.”
Currently abundance recipients are banned from application their aborigine adjourned EBT cards to acquirement abounding accepted domiciliary items. The belted account account includes aggregate from booze and “luxury items” such as steak, bendable drinks and ice chrism to nonfood items that accommodate domiciliary supplies, cosmetics and “grooming items.” Alike abnormally specific federal restrictions are in abode such as the one which allows appropriate cakes to be paid for by EBT provided that the decorations on the block that are “non-edible” do not aggregate added than 50 percent of the amount of the cake.
Given the federal account of EBT acquirement restrictions, argumentation dictates that recreational marijuana in Colorado and Washington would additionally abatement beneath the class of a abundance “luxury item.” With an accretion cardinal of states eying the tax acquirement that legalized recreational marijuana can generate, the “welfare for weed” artifice will charge to be bound eventually than later.
By Alana Marie Burke
United States Senate Committee on the BudgetWashington Examiner – ScribdThe Washington TimesUnited States Department of Agriculture
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