Washington Lawmaker Demands No Welfare for Weed
The US House gave a shout-out for Washington Congressman Dave Reichert this week - literally, a shout-out. Reichert, a west-side Republican and former county sheriff, wrote a bill to prohibit government welfare cards for being used to buy marijuana. Supporters called it the "no welfare for weed" bill.
Since there was virtually no opposition to the measure, the House easily approved it by what's called a voice vote. That means votes are not recorded individually, but the presiding officer merely calls for the yeas and nays. The side which makes the most noise wins. Reichert said his bill is merely a logical extension of existing law which prevents people from using welfare debit cards at liquor stores, casinos and strip clubs. As he put it - "the fact that some people are using welfare for weed is outrageous. Even though some may decide to spend their own money on drugs, we're not going to give them a taxpayer subsidy to do it."
The issue is now in the hands of the Senate, but its chances are iffy there because Congress is rushing to go home and campaign for the fall elections. Even if the measure becomes law, pot smokers could still use debit cards to get cash from an ATM and then go pot shopping.