BMEWS
 
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calendar   Tuesday - July 22, 2014

Gee, Who DIDN’T See This Coming

Swipe Yo EBT, Buy Yo Blunts

Colorado tokers sending EBT money up in smoke

For the past six months, welfare beneficiaries in Colorado have repeatedly withdrawn their cash benefits at marijuana retailers and dispensaries, according to a new analysis by National Review Online. Such apparent abuses have caught the eye of Colorado’s executive and legislative powers alike, and the state has launched an effort to curb them.

At least 259 times in the first six months of legalized recreational marijuana in Colorado, beneficiaries used their electronic-benefit transfer (EBT) cards to access public assistance at weed retailers and dispensaries, withdrawing a total of $23,608.53 in Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) cash, NRO’s examination found.

In 2012, the latest fiscal year available, Colorado used $124 million in TANF money from the federal government, according to the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities. Withdrawals at marijuana establishments represented only a tiny fraction of the more than 500,000 total EBT transactions that have occurred since recreational weed became legal in Colorado on January 1. And it’s impossible to determine how much of that welfare money actually was used to buy pot, given that cash benefits are fungible and some of these establishments also sell groceries.

Nevertheless, welfare withdrawals at weed stores are coming under increasing scrutiny, and Colorado’s legislators and bureaucrats are beginning an effort to restrict abuses.

On July 11, the Colorado State Board of Human Services passed an emergency rule, effective immediately, restricting the use of TANF funds at marijuana shops, bars, liquor stores, gambling establishments, and other potentially inappropriate venues.

Gee, no kidding. Duh.

If you set the welfare system up so that people can get cash, then some of them will use that cash for luxury items, entertainment, and recreational drugs. We saw this with the post-Katrina emergency cash cards used to buy lap dances, we’ve seen it for years with every bodega in the country, and we’ve seen it for ages to a lesser extent with the “sub currencies” of cases of Pepsi soda in the Appalachian areas and the liquid Tide detergent in the urban areas. Give people money and they will spend it on what they feel like. Give them credit to acquire what can be exchanged for money, and they’ll do that as well.

There are no surprises here. And making some kind of effort to keep the EBT machines away from the stoner shops is a waste of money. Do you think these folks can’t walk half a block down the street from the grocery store? Give me a break. If you want a screw-proof system, then make the cards usable for an issue package. By which I mean, given the universal computerization and government access to everything, that your EBT card is good for a monthly allocation of 6 2lb packages of hamburger, 4 4 roll packages of toilet paper, 12 1lb loaves of whole wheat bread, 1 1.25lb chuck steak, 5 13oz boxes of regular Cheerios, 8 gallons of whole milk in either quarts, halves, or gallons, etc. Pretty much it becomes a shopping list, and everyone on it has to eat the same foods. It’s your issue, your distribution. No money comes out, and you can’t buy enough of any one item to be able to use it as trade stock for anything else. Any other way of doing it, and somebody is going to figure out how to play the system, to get their lap dances and their bong hits. So do it right. Or shut up.


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Posted by Drew458   United States  on 07/22/2014 at 01:00 PM   
Filed Under: • GovernmentCorruption and GreedNo Shit, Sherlock •  
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