As Lynn Bartels of the Denver Post explains, we've got it all wrong about Sen. Vicki Marble and Senate Bill 14-037, the bill to stop public assistance cards for food stamps, etc. from being used at Colorado marijuana stores:
It had the makings of must-read story: a Republican lawmaker believes a faux news report that Colorado's pot shops are accepting food stamps and introduces a bill to outlaw the practice.
Only here's the catch:
The satire was written after Colorado marijuana dispensaries opened for business on Jan. 1. Sen. Vicki Marble of Fort Collins began working on her bill in August.
She produced an e-mail dated Sept. 4 from one of the legislature's attorneys, who was writing her bill.
After the Douglas County Republican Party helped spread the spoof story that food stamp funds were being used to buy marijuana, the introduction of Senate Bill 14-037 by Sen. Marble and a pack of Republican House members was pretty much guaranteed to provoke a round of gut-busting laughter from Democrats. The possibility, and as it turns out fact, that the legislation was authored well before spoof "news" sites began fictionalizing the consequences of the legalization of marijuana in Colorado had occurred to us. It was our understanding that adult dance clubs were already barred from accepting public assistance cards, but apparently Sen. Marble's bill addresses that as well.
As we've previously explained, federal food stamp funds can only be used to buy specific food products from approved retailers. Other assistance funds, however, like Social Security disability payments, can hypothetically be used anywhere as cash, which has led to legislation in Colorado restricting their use at liquor stores and casinos. In 2012, President Barack Obama signed federal legislation requiring all states to restrict the use of cash fund cards at "casinos, liquor stores, and retail establishments which provide adult-oriented entertainment" or face penalties. Obviously, marijuana isn't included in that list as it's already illegal under federal law.
In short, Sen. Vicki Marble, the Republican who gave the world "chicken-gate" just last year, wants to reassure the public that she came up with this legislation on her own–and not, as you may have been led to believe, as a product of a fake news story. And as it turns out, though it bears a comedic resemblance to said fake news story, her bill may not be quite as wacky as first thought–even though Marble’s motivations for leading this particular charge, in light of her history, can certainly be debated. In any event, we are obliged and pleased to correct the record.