Colorado Residents Using EBT Cards aka Food Stamps to Buy Marijuana


I wonder how many Colorado residents would approve of people using their tax dollars to purchase marijuana?

Instead of using their EBT cards (electronic benefit transfer – the modern name for food stamps) to buy food to put on the table, a growing number of Colorado food stamp recipients are buying pot. The state says that thousands of dollars have been withdrawn from ATMs located in the state’s marijuana shops using EBT cards since the legalization of pot for recreational use.

These withdrawals are being made illegally as a federal law was passed the same year as the pot was legalized in Colorado, 2012, prohibiting the use of EBT cards at ATMs in pot shops. It’s also illegal to use EBT cards to make withdrawals in liquor stores and casinos, but Watchdog.org reports that hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars are being illegally withdrawn at these locations.

In response to the report of taxpayer money being used to buy marijuana, Colorado State Rep Tim Dore (R – Elizabeth) said that bills have been introduced to stop the use of EBT cards withdrawals at pot shop ATMs, but none of them have ever been passed. He said he plans to re-introduce a bill next year. Adding that the practice is appalling, he stated:

“At least prevent the use of these types of cards to buy marijuana. We’re going to allow people to get money to abuse a drug that isn’t even legal federally?”

Supposedly, the Colorado Department of Human Services of Economic Security is looking into the situation of EBT withdrawals made at marijuana and liquor stores as well as casinos. Director Levetta Love says her department has even started contacting individuals who have made these withdrawals, but so far, no action has been taken against them and they continue to keep their benefits.

The owners of the ATMs are not legally responsible to monitor who uses the machines for withdrawals, so there is nothing the state can do to them. I realize that the government saved a ton of money when they switched from the printed out paper food stamps to the use of EBT cards where monthly benefits are directly deposited into each recipient’s account, but using the old food stamp coupons would eliminate their misuse at pot and liquor shops and casinos.

I still believe that recipients of welfare and food stamps should also undergo regular drug tests in order to qualify to receive their benefits. After all, I’ve worked at jobs where we had to undergo a drug test in order to have a job that paid the taxes being used to pay for people’s pot, booze and gambling. If Americans have to pass a drug test to earn the money, then it’s only fair that recipients of our tax dollars have to pass drug tests in order to get and spend our tax dollars. I bet that would go a long way to help clean up the system.

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