Congress seeks ban on welfare cash at pot shops after FOX31 investigation

Retail marijuana shop

Retail marijuana shop

An exclusive Fox31 Denver investigation into welfare recipients using tax benefits at ATMs inside marijuana dispensaries– gets the attention of Congress.

Investigative Reporter Chris Halsne has confirmed that Congressman Dave Reichert will introduce what’s being called the “Preserving Welfare for Needs Not Weed Act” on Monday.

According to Representative Reichert’s office, the legislation adds pot shops to the current list of locations where states must block welfare EBT/debit cards from being used for purchases or ATM withdrawals.

Rep. Reichert (R-Washington) is Chairman of the Ways and Means Human Resources Subcommittee. Representatives Scott Tipton and Cory Gardner of Colorado will co-sponsor the legislation.

Last week, Fox31 Denver went undercover inside licensed Colorado marijuana dispensaries to prove ATMs, located inside secured areas of pot shops, were being repeatedly used by welfare recipients.

Public records collected by Fox31 Denver show at least 19 different dispensaries allowed Quest debit cards to be used inside their pot shops in January alone. We found 56 transactions, totaling nearly $4,000.

Transaction data also shows welfare cash being used at more than a hundred liquor stores and several strip clubs.

Using an ATM inside a pot shop is technically legal in Colorado because state Democrats killed a bill in January which would have banned the practice.

Now Congress wants to force the state to comply with what Representative Reichert says is “common-sense” legislation.

The bill will not comment on whether it makes sense for states to legalize the sale of pot.