February 21, 2014
Fox31 in Denver, Colorado has discovered welfare debit cards are being used in recreational marijuana dispensaries in the state. The ATMs used to withdraw cash with JP Morgan Quest cards are situated in the pot retail stores. Marijuana sales in Colorado are restricted to cash only transactions.
The cards are designed to be used for food and other necessities and are not for entertainment or recreational purposes. The state of Colorado, however, does not monitor how welfare recipients spend the money provided by taxpayers.
It is not illegal to use welfare money for marijuana or strip clubs. However, there is a law on the books in the state preventing redistributed cash from being used in gambling casinos.
The Fox31 investigation matched up the Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) cash transactions with the addresses of the pot dispensaries.
“We also found welfare clients used state-issued debit cards inside marijuana retail stores to collect cash at least 56 times for a total of $3,895. Names like Medicine Man, Starbuds, The Green Solution, MMJ Uptown and The Sanctuary stood out.” write Chris Halsne and Chris Koeberl for the television news station.
A ballot initiative, Colorado Amendment 64, passed in the state on November 6, 2012, legalizing recreational use of marijuana.