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Welfare and the Weed Loophole

SNAPIf anyone will not work, neither shall he eat. – 2 Thessalonians 3:10

Able-bodied people who live contentedly on the fruits of other people’s labor probably won’t be upset about a loophole that allows welfare recipients to buy “medical” marijuana with food stamp cards. Recipients who desperately want off government assistance and the rest of us might see a problem. From the Washington Times:

The Alabama Republican announced that he was drafting legislation to close the welfare-for-weed loophole after the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services confirmed to him that marijuana shops were not off limits to EBT cards, which replaced food stamps, or other federal benefits. “The federal government current spends roughly $750 billion each year on means-tested welfare programs across 80 different accounts. This money is administered by a vast, sprawling bureaucracy with little oversight and no moral vision,” said Mr. Sessions, the ranking member of the Senate Budget Committee.

“Surely we can all agree that the guiding principle ought to be that benefits are reserved for those in real need,” he said.

Welfare recipients aren’t supposed to use their taxpayer-funded food stamps on alcohol or clothes or anything other than food. But we’ve all heard rumors about certain government-dependent people trading their benefits for cash to buy what the program won’t allow.

Star Parker, who used to be government-dependent, is an outspoken critic of welfare programs. When a new farm bill cut the food stamp program by two percent over ten years, liberals flipped. She set the record straight.

“Assistant House Democratic leader James Clyburn of South Carolina called the cuts ‘abominable,'” Star wrote, “suggesting they will jeopardize nutrition of children and that it’s all about protecting ‘the wealthy and the well to do.’…I recall these kinds of charges from the left when I worked on reforming welfare in 1995 and 1996. Those reforms, signed into law by President Bill Clinton, were far more sweeping than 2 percent cuts. Not only did doomsday predictions not occur, but welfare rolls were dramatically reduced — not by casting anyone into the street, but by young women on welfare going to work.”

Photo credit: Selbe B (Creative Commons)

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