Anyone in Colorado currently receiving public assistance in the form of food stamps won’t be able to use them to purchase marijuana at any of the recently opened and now legal stores peddling marijuana for recreational use. Colorado legislatures have crafted a bill that would prevent any individual from using electronic benefit cards (EBT) as a welfare or food stamp recipient, to obtain cash to purchase pot. Pot dispensaries are included among a number of retail operations that also would be required to refuse the use of EBT cards for purchases, including casinos, gun shops and liquor stores.
Senate Bill 37 is being sponsored by several of the state’s Republican senators, who insist that since marijuana is still considered an illegal purchase under federal law, taxpayer dollars should not be allowed to be used to purchase it through the use of food stamps. But many dispensary owners insist that it is not a common practice for customers to use food stamps or their EBT cards in order to pay for their marijuana supplies, which can cost as much as several hundred dollars per ounce.
Ryan Cook, manager of The Clinic chain of marijuana stores in the Denver area, said there’s no substance to fears of public assistance being used for cannabis products.
“I’ve never heard of it. We’ve never seen it in any of our locations,” Cook said.
The Marijuana Industry Group, a Denver-based business and lobbying organization, hasn’t taken a position on the food-stamp bill.
“MIG is focused on addressing issues of public safety, such as access to banking, and working with state and local governments to educate the public about responsible use of marijuana and ensuring this product stays out of the hands of those who shouldn’t have it,” MIG Director Michael Elliott said.
Marijuana dispensaries selling cannabis for smoking as well as cannabis-laced food items have been legal since January 1.
Food Stamps at Pot Shops Banned Under Colo. Bill