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WASHINGTON — The House passed a bill Tuesday that could make it a little harder for people to use government welfare payments to buy marijuana in states where the drug is legal. Supporters call it the "no welfare for weed" bill. The bill would prevent people from using government-issued welfare debit cards to make purchases at stores that sell marijuana. It would also prohibit people from using the cards to withdraw cash from ATMs in those stores.
Rep. Dave Reichert, R-Wash., the main sponsor of the bill, said it is a logical extension of existing law now that Washington State and Colorado have legalized marijuana for recreational use. "The fact that some people are using welfare for weed is outrageous," Reichert said in a statement. "While some may decide to spend their own money on drugs, we're not going to give them a taxpayer subsidy to do it."
The reach of the bill would be limited because pot smokers could still use their benefit cards to get cash from an ATM at a different store or bank, and then use the money to buy marijuana. With Congress in a rush to get home to campaign, a Senate version is unlikely and the bill will probably not reach the president's desk this year.
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