Rep. MacEwen says politics responsible for the death of bill to prohibit use of EBT for alcohol and drugs
Earlier this week the House Early Learning & Human Services Committee heard a bill that would have prohibited the use of public assistance funds to obtain alcohol and drugs. Changes associated with the privatization of state liquor stores and the legalization of marijuana in Washington created loopholes which could allow the use of electronic benefit (EBT) cards or cash from EBT to purchase alcohol or marijuana. The bill failed to move before the cutoff this week.
In the Senate, an amendment was proposed to allow EBT to be used for medicinal marijuana. The amendment failed to pass; however, the bill still progressed to the House. During the House hearing a representative from the National Organization of Women and Welfare Advocates Group testified in favor of using EBT for medicinal marijuana. According to Rep. Drew MacEwen, R-Union, who sits on the House Early Learning & Human Services Committee, the bill didn’t make it out of committee because it wasn’t amended to add medicinal marijuana.
“This legislation was needed and I believe that politics trumped policy in this case. Public assistance dollars are provided to help families in need to purchase food and necessities,” MacEwen said. “In the past, DSHS has limited what can and cannot be purchased using an EBT card. Attempts by committee Democrats to broaden the bill so it allowed people to purchase medical marijuana with EBT is just another example of misuse of public dollars. We have an obligation to protect the vulnerable but we must also work to protect the interests of hard working taxpayers.”