Colorado Set to Criminalize Welfare Benefits in Pot Shops

For those among the conservative community, there are few things that could anger you more that the thought of welfare benefits used for marijuana purchases. There have been rumors that this was happening on a regular basis in Colorado smoke shops since their legalization. There has been very little proof that this abuse of welfare was actually happening. But many still persist to believe that it was a major problem.

In light of such rumors, aol.com is reporting:

“. . . state lawmakers this year are poised to pass a law clarifying that public benefit cards can’t be used at dispensary ATMs.

A bill facing its first hearing next week in the state Senate would add marijuana businesses and strip clubs to the list of Colorado businesses where electronic benefits cards – called EBTs – can’t be used to withdraw cash. Liquor stores, casinos and gun shops already have such limitations.”

Republican state Senator Vicki Marble authored the bill, and she said.

“We stand to lose a lot if we don’t show we are trying” to prevent tax money for pot, Marble said. “The growers here put in a lot of time and effort. A raid would be absolutely devastating to our state.”

The fear of federal intervention is a real one. There were moves in the Congress to pass laws concerning the issue. Aol.com further reported.

Republican Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama last year suggested a new federal law banning the use of EBT cards at dispensaries. Currently there’s no national standard on public benefit cards at dispensaries.

Washington State passed law last year very similar to the Colorado bill. It bans the use of EBT cards in ATM’s in any establishment that has an 18-years or older restriction. This would include clubs/bars, strip clubs, and marijuana shops.

This brought the Colorado Democrats along and gives this bill a good chance of passing. This same bill failed passage last year because of Democrat opposition. It is reported.

Marble’s bill failed last year amid concerns that because pot shops are concentrated in poor neighborhoods, dispensary ATMs may be the closest source of cash for people without a bank.

So, how has Washington’s law worked? Aol.com said:

Despite Washington’s law, there were a couple of reported instances over the summer of people using those cards at pot-shop ATMs. The state responded by instructing the new marijuana businesses to install a code in their ATMs preventing further in-store welfare-for-weed transactions.

Nevertheless, isolated cases have continued as more pot shops have opened. In about a dozen instances from September through November, welfare recipients withdrew about $540 from pot-shop ATMs, John Wiley, a spokesman for the state Department of Social and Health Services, said Friday. Those businesses too were reminded not to allow benefit cards to be used in their ATMs.

The issue is not the ATM location nor the merchants compliance. We can easily fix this issue. The ATMs simply have to be set to reject the use of EBT cards. This stops the problem before it begins, and there would be no need for a new law.

But what really is at issue is the unrestricted use of Welfare benefits. Why not trash the EBT system altogether? Why do these lawmakers not see that if you can use the card in any ATM to receive cash, then it is useless to try and stop the EBT money from being used to purchase pot. This happens more than they know. There is a way around every law they pass.

All they would have to do is offer to buy a friends groceries at half price. Receive the cash and walk into the pot dispensary and purchase what they can afford. These lawmakers have no desire to fix this problem, or they would fix what was really broke; the welfare system. They want to silence the critics and look busy.

I don’t buy it, sorry.