File this under “we told you so”. After Democrats refused to pass a commonsense bill that would prevent people from withdrawing state aid from ATMs at marijuana dispensaries, a KDVR investigative report found people doing exactly that:
In one month, records show 19 different marijuana retail stores had at least one welfare recipient walk into their business, insert a Quest debit card into an ATM machine inside the store, then withdraw at least $20 cash. [the Peak emphasis]
With threats of investigations from the federal government if it was found federal welfare money had been used to purchase marijuana, the bill proposed by Republicans to ban such a practice had support from the retail marijuana community as well, as a follow-up report shows:
Marijuana dispensary owner Tim Cullen, who didn’t install a private ATM inside his store like many other pot retailers, says his colleagues better watch out…
…“We’d like to avoid the federal government shutting down this amazing experiment that’s been really successful in Colorado – based on the actions of a few individuals.”
According to some lawmakers, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has already warned Colorado; it needs to take welfare abuse prevention seriously or risk losing enormous amounts of low income program grant money. [the Peak emphasis]
Coloradans that KDVR interviewed also felt strongly that welfare funds should not be withdrawn at pot shops.
Leo Branstetter, who lives across the street from one of the recreational marijuana dispensaries on our list, could not believe his ears when [KDVR] told him about how tax money was being used.
“No. No. No. That’s the last thing that should happen. Ever. No. There’s no justifying any of that. No way. That should never happen. If there’s no oversight, it’s going to happen exponentially.” [the Peak emphasis]
It is clear everyone agrees this is a bad idea, except for the Democrats who control the state legislature. What did the Democrats have to say for themselves when presented with this story?
We asked Democratic leadership for comment, but were not granted an interview.
If that was us, we wouldn’t want to talk either. It’s hard to defend the indefensible.