New legislation may ban use of EBT cards for pot

Posted at 5:22 PM, Feb 18, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-18 21:00:40-05

A big conversation is brewing at our state Capitol about whether or not welfare benefits should be used to buy medical marijuana.

In Arizona, people can use their EBT cards to purchase many basic necessities; including meat, bread, milk, and prescriptions. But what's the answer when it comes to medical marijuana?

Under current law, recipients are not allowed to use their EBT cards in liquor stores, casinos, or strip clubs. Rep. Kate Brophy McGee (R - Phoenix) wants to add medical marijuana dispensaries to the list by amending House Bill 2261.

"I just don’t think that taxpayer funds should be used for that purpose," she said. "What we need to do as a state is express a policy about how the cards can be used and should be used."

But Rep. Randall Friese says as a physician, he feels there are valid reasons people use marijuana.

"Anorexia, cancer, chronic pain, chronic nausea," he said. "If you can buy your prescription drugs with your EBT card, I feel you should be able to access your medical marijuana."

The bill passed through committee on a split vote earlier this month, and now goes to the House floor for a vote.