Republican lawmakers in Washington, D.C. have introduced legislation that would ban the spending of federal welfare benefits at cannabis dispensaries. Two pending pieces of legislation include language to prohibit the use of welfare benefits at marijuana retailers, including a wide-reaching Senate welfare reform bill and a stand-alone measure in the House of Representatives.

In the Senate, Republican Senator Steve Daines of Montana has included the ban in a welfare reform bill known as the “Jobs and Opportunity with Benefits and Services Act” or “JOBS Act,” (S.2381), which he introduced in the upper chamber of Congress on July 19.

The bill contains several reforms to the federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program, including provisions that provide job search assistance and others that require benefit recipients to work or actively seek employment. Also included in the JOBS Act is a section titled “Welfare for needs not weed,” a provision that bars the use of TANF funds at “any establishment that offers marihuana … for sale.”

“Finding and keeping a job is the best way for Montana families to go from government dependency to self-sufficiency,” Daines said in a statement on the legislation, which did not mention the cannabis provisions of the measure. “My

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