The House late Tuesday passed a bill to prevent people from using welfare benefit cards at stores that sell marijuana.
Passed by voice vote, the measure sponsored by Rep. Dave ReichertDavid ReichertOvernight Finance: Biz groups endorse Trump's Labor pick | New CBO score coming before health bill vote | Lawmakers push back on public broadcasting cuts Dem, GOP lawmakers push back against Trump’s cuts to public broadcasting The Hill's Whip List: 33 GOP 'no' votes on ObamaCare repeal plan MORE (R-Wash.), titled "Preserving Welfare for Needs Not Weed Act," would also ban withdrawing welfare cash at ATMs in stores that sell the drug.
In late July, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) informed Congress that it does not have control over transactions in stores that sell marijuana. But HHS Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell wrote in a letter to Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) that “any inappropriate expenditure of public funds is cause for concern and should be addressed immediately.”
Sessions originally questioned if welfare benefits were being used at stores selling marijuana in states that have legalized marijuana, such as Colorado and Washington. Under current law, welfare funds cannot be spent at strip clubs, liquor stores or casinos.
The bill was debated for a total of 18 minutes and passed without members having to take a recorded vote.