Last Tuesday, we took note of a spoof story on a satire "news site," The National Report, hilariously breaking the scandalous news of food stamps being accepted at Colorado's new retail marijuana stores:
“If you are a tax payer in Colorado, you get to pay for welfare recipients, a majority of whom are Democrats of course, to smoke pot now,” stated Denver resident Paul Horner. ”Where will this all end? First it was Obamaphones, then Obamacare, now Obamaweed? Will we be paying for tattoos, manicures, body piercings, gay marriages and porn next?”
Store owner JC Franco defended his decision to accept EBT cards in an interview with National Report: “Everyone should have access to marijuana. If a user is not able to afford their buds on a limited budget then having taxpayers help cover the shortage is only fair. This isn’t a right only for the wealthy.”
So, as most readers of this piece were quickly able to determine, this didn't really happen. The National Report's website clearly disclaims that "all news articles contained within National Report are fiction, and presumably fake news." Unfortunately for the Douglas County Republican Party, as we discussed Tuesday, this story was lifted and reprinted on a number of real, non-spoof conservative websites as fact. It subsequently picked up with no disclaimer by lots of conservatives, including the Douglas County GOP's Twitter feed. It was our assumption that a little good-natured ribbing of our gullible friends in Douglas County would be the end of it.
But as AP's Kristen Wyatt reports via CBS4, that's not the end of the story after all!
Food stamps for a pot brownie? It’s an urban myth in Colorado, but state lawmakers want to make sure that doesn’t happen. [Pols emphasis]
A bill proposed this week by several Republicans would add marijuana dispensaries to liquor stores, gun shops and casinos as places where recipients of public assistance payments and food stamps can’t use their electronic benefits cards to access cash.
There haven’t been any reports of public EBT cards being used at marijuana dispensaries. But lawmakers say pot shops should be added to the law to make clear it’s not legal.
“We need this bill, if for nothing else, as a statement,” said Rep. Jared Wright, R-Grand Junction… [Pols emphasis]
That's right, folks! Senate Bill 14-037 is actual legislation meant to ensure a satirical news story never "comes true." Senate Bill 37's sole Senate sponsor is the infamous Sen. Vicki Marble. In the House, the bill is sponsored by pretty much the entire "clown car" caucus of downright wacky and frequently-embarrassing GOP representatives: Reps. Jared Wright, Dan Nordberg, Perry Buck, Steve Humphrey, and Lori Saine. If they could just get Bob Gardner and Janak Joshi to sign on, it would be pretty much a perfect caricature.
Dispensary owners say they’ve been debunking rumors about food stamp use in marijuana shops.
According to Wyatt, the Marijuana Industry Group hasn't yet taken a position on Senate Bill 37. To be fair, they also haven't taken a position we've seen on the Daily Currant's shocking headline from last week, "Marijuana Overdoses Kill 37 in Colorado On First Day of Legalization." There are probably a few other spoof stories about marijuana in Colorado they haven't taken a stand on. Which makes sense once you know they're fake.
Back in reality, only specific qualifying food items can be purchased with Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) funds. Retailers who want to accept these funds must apply and be approved by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. We feel pretty confident that any licensed retail marijuana merchant who tried to accept SNAP funds for the purchase of marijuana, or anything containing it, would be frog-marched to the federal prison in Englewood faster than you can say "pass the bong." With lines around the block full of eager buyers with pockets full of cash, the idea that any marijuana retailer would need or want to try this is simply laughable.
With that said, AP reports that recipients of Social Security for Disability and certain other assistance funds that are deposited to the same account can be used essentially as cash for those funds–our understanding is that items are allotted to different funding pools from the same card at the point of sale. This has led to legislation prohibiting these cards being used at casinos and liquor stores. Those aren't "food stamp" funds at all, of course, but the outrage a good conservative feels at the mere thought of public assistance funds being spent in such disreputable places motivated them to be absolutely certain those immoral entitlees use an ATM across the street.
We suppose that alone might give this bill some pro forma utility–a "statement," like Rep. Wright says. What urban myth do you suppose our intrepid "clown car" caucus should tackle next? We open the floor to suggestions.