A GOP senator who is the top cosponsor of marijuana banking legislation is now, on the other hand, also seeking to prevent people from using federal financial assistance at cannabis dispensaries as part of a new large-scale welfare bill.
Sen. Steve Daines (R-MT), the lead Republican sponsor of the Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act, included language in a separate welfare-related bill that would make it so people could not use Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) funds at “any establishment that offers marihuana … for sale.”
A standalone bill that would singularly enact that policy change was reintroduced in the House last week by Reps. Tom Rice (R-SC) and Jackie Walorski (R-IN).
Daines did not directly address the cannabis provision in a press release on his new broader welfare bill last week, but argued that the overall legislation “recognizes that there is dignity and hope in work.”
“We need to do more to give Montana families a hand-up, not simply a handout, and provide the resources they need to secure a brighter future,” he said.
According to a memo on an earlier version of the standalone House measure, the provision would prohibit people “from using welfare benefit cards for purchases at stores that sell marijuana, as well as forbids the withdrawal of welfare cash at ATMs in such stores.”
But activists say the bill unfairly targets the most vulnerable people and perpetuates marijuana stigmas.
The title of the provision itself—the “Welfare for Needs not Weed”—has on its own drawn the ire of legalization advocates who argue it unnecessarily plays into negative cannabis stereotypes. They also argue that it’s inappropriate to tell medical cannabis patients they can’t use funds for their medicine.
Beyond perpetuating stigmas, there’s some earlier evidence indicating that the proposal wouldn’t be efficacious.
“Americans shouldn’t be discriminated against under the law for responsible