Tyler Hansen of Media Matters for America:
Fox News seized on Colorado's legalization of recreational use and sale of marijuana to stoke fears — while offering no evidence — that low-income Americans could use food stamps to buy marijuana. In fact, food stamp recipients are barred from purchasing non-food items, cannot withdraw food stamps as cash, and fraud in the program is extremely rare.
After Colorado a law allowing the legal sale of marijuana went into effect in 2014, an urban myth spread that Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, commonly known as food stamps) recipients could use electronic benefits transfer (EBT) cards to withdraw SNAP benefits as cash at ATMs located in marijuana dispensaries in order to buy marijuana. Colorado senate Republicans introduced a bill to ban the use of EBT cards at those ATMs, but the bill failed after Democratic lawmakers raised concerns about restricting recipients' access to benefits in areas with few ATMs…
Fox & Friends co-host Brian Kilmeade introduced the segment [today] by asking, "Can people collecting food stamps in Colorado add marijuana to their shopping lists?" and answering, "Right now the answer is yes." [Pols emphasis]
But as we've been saying ever since Sen. Vicki Marble and the "clown car caucus" of far-out GOP representatives introduced the legislation in question, the answer is in fact no. Federal food stamp funds, or SNAP funds, cannot be used at nonapproved retailers, and cannot be used to purchase nonqualifying products. Because marijuana is illegal under federal law, that of course means no marijuana retailer has been approved to accept food stamp funds. There is the matter of other forms of direct cash assistance that are sometimes deposited into a common debit card account for beneficiaries, but we're not talking about "food stamps" at all.
The biggest problem? This issue was settled days ago. It has been repeatedly clarified in local news reports that food stamp funds never could and can't be used today to buy marijuana. The only way FOX News could have gotten this story so wrong in a report today is if they stopped reading the news over a week ago. Which makes it much more likely that this was fully intentional misinformation.
Next time, we'll just have to consider the source.