[RICHARD] Current Law Permits EBT Recipients To Buy Pot On Your Dime
There are currently no laws on the books in Massachusetts prohibiting the use of an EBT card to purchase marijuana products, medicinal or commercial.
54 percent of Massachusetts residents endorsed an initiative petition last Fall that legalizes the use, possession and even farming of limited amounts of marijuana. The Legislature has delayed implementation of the new law while it tweaks it and debates the best way to roll it all out. Lots of questions remain about this strange, new world we are entering, not the least of which is whether you'll be able to buy dope with your EBT card.
3rd Bristol District State Representative Shaunna O'Connell, (R-Taunton) has filed legislation that would outlaw the use of taxpayer funded EBT cards to buy commercial marijuana, but, leaves the door open to using the benefits card to buy medicinal weed. She tells me, "They can use their card to pay for other prescriptions so this should be no different." But, O'Connell says buying recreational pot is a different story all together.
You may recall O'Connell's epic battle against EBT abuse that began under the previous administration. Former Governor Deval Patrick and the legislative leadership fought tooth and nail to protect rampant abuse that allowed EBT card holders to purchase tobacco products, booze and services not considered essential by most rational thinking people. O'Connell fought and the people won. EBT cards are no longer accepted at strip clubs, casinos and other such places, thanks to O'Connell's efforts and if lawmakers back this bill they wont be used to buy recreational marijuana either.
There is a lot more work to be done to reform the EBT system, including, better vetting to prevent illegals and ineligibles from receiving the benefits at your expense. House Bill H 3194 is a good next step because it protects the taxpayers of Massachusetts from having to pay for recreational drugs for recipients of public assistance.
Contact the members of the area delegation today and insist that they support Shaunna O'Connell and House Bill H 3194.
Editor's Note: Barry Richard is the afternoon host on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from Noon-3pm. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.