Having recently returned from Colorado, I am alarmed to find out that there have been numerous reports that have recently surfaced saying that TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families) benefits are being used to purchase recreational marijuana in that state. In January there were over 30 retail pot shops that applied for business licenses in suburbs around the city of Denver. After visiting the neighborhoods of about a half dozen of these stores, I had the opportunity of viewing the wide range of customers who were frequenting these establishments.
As I was driving around Denver a few weeks ago, I was alarmed to see how many people appeared to be smoking pot in their cars. Somehow this doesn’t surprise me. An article published Thursday by CNBC states that two small business surveys confirms that “1 out of 10 Americans show up to work high on marijuana”. Now we find out that ‘needy people’ through some government assistance programs can now purchase ‘recreational pot’ in Colorado using their EBT (Electronic Benefit Transfer) cards. This practice violates all levels of common sense.
Exactly why should taxpayers finance pot smoking? According to a letter by Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) dated this April a ‘12 federal law requires states to prevent usage of EBT cards in liquor stores, gambling casinos, & porn establishments. However since the law predates the state of Colorado vote to legalize marijuana in that state, it does not provide for restrictions on recreational pot stores.
In his letter to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and Secretary Sebelius, Sen. Sessions asked that the HHS look into the matter to insure the federal government can properly regulate usage of EBT cards in ‘recreational pot’ stores also. Not surprisingly, we have yet to hear from HHS on this. If TANF benefits are disallowed in liquor stores and porn establishments, it seems only reasonable that the same policy of denial of usage should pertain to ‘recreational pot’ stores as well.