The Capitol Record

Senate approves measure banning EBT use for medical marijuana

The state Senate on Tuesday passed a bill that would add medical marijuana to the list of items prohibited from purchase when using Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) cards.

EBT cards work much like bank debit cards and are used by people who receive federal food aid and state cash benefits to pay for items related to childcare. The Legislature has already banned EBT card purchases for tattoos, body piercings, alcohol and tobacco.

“Something that is not appropriate for children shouldn’t be purchased with money intended for children,” said Sen. Mike Carrell (R-Lakewood), the sponsor of Senate Bill 5279.

Sen. Jeannie Darnielle (D-Tacoma) introduced an amendment that would have excluded qualifying medical marijuana patients from the proposed restrictions. The amendment failed to gain enough support on the floor.

“I find it so difficult to believe that we would allow someone to buy an aspirin, to buy lotion, to buy things that make living pain-free, and can not recognize that medical usage of marijuana are absolutely appropriate to people of all economic status,”  Darnielle said.

The measure passed by a 39-10 vote. It now heads to the House for consideration.

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