Today, U.S. Congressman Paul A. Gosar, D.D.S. (AZ-04) released the following statement after introducing the No Welfare for Weed Act, with the support of 24 bipartisan cosponsors, which closes a loophole that prevents the federal government from preventing welfare recipients from purchasing marijuana with welfare benefits:
“It should go without saying that hard-earned taxpayer money should not be used for people to get high. However, there will always be some people who try to game the system and that is why this revision to federal law is necessary. This bipartisan bill is so commonsense that it has earned the support of the Colorado Cannabis Chamber of Commerce.
“Let me be blunt: Regardless of any opinions on medical or recreational marijuana use, federal welfare dollars should not be spent to purchase weed. The sole purpose of this bill is to prohibit marijuana from being purchased with SNAP and TANF welfare benefits. These programs provide food and other basic living essentials for the neediest families. My legislation prohibits beneficiaries from purchasing pot with federal tax dollars that should be used by recipients to feed and care for their families.”
The full text of the No Welfare for Weed Act can be found HERE.
A Fox31 Denver investigation from February of this year revealed tens of thousands of dollars have been pulled out of ATM’s using welfare EBT cards and been used to purchase marijuana. That investigation can be found HERE.
Current federal law prohibits TANF benefits from being used for purchases or withdrawals at ATMs in strip clubs, liquor stores and casinos. The No Welfare for Weed Act will add all marijuana dispensaries to this list of prohibited locations. Additionally, SNAP benefits are not eligible to purchase alcohol, tobacco and lottery tickets. This legislation will add marijuana products—including edible marijuana products—to this list of prohibited items that can be purchased with SNAP benefits.
Congressman Gosar’s legislation currently has 24 original cosponsors including: Representatives Brian Babin, Dan Benishek, Kevin Brady, Jim Bridenstine, Ken Buck, Paul Cook, John Duncan, John Fleming, Trent Franks, Andy Harris, Tim Huelskamp, Walter Jones, Steve King, Ann Kirkpatrick, Doug LaMalfa, Doug Lamborn, Mark Meadows, Dan Newhouse, Robert Pittenger, Joseph Pitts, Bruce Poliquin, Matt Salmon, Pete Sessions and Ted Yoho.
This legislation is endorsed by the Family Research Council, the Colorado Cannabis Chamber of Commerce, Concerned Women for America and Americans for Prosperity.