By Eric W. Dolan
Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC) on Friday defended a $40 billion cut to the food stamp program, known officially as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, by claiming that beneficiaries were using the federal program to buy pot.
“The Nutrition Reform & Work Opportunity Act is designed to preserve the integrity of the SNAP program for families, and especially children, who rely on food stamps,” she said on the House floor, according to the Congressional record. “Reforms in this legislation put stronger protections in place to ensure that SNAP money is reserved only for those who qualify for food stamps and isn’t wasted on government public relations campaigns, medical marijuana purchases, or lottery winners. Questionable loopholes and recruitment activities which extend assistance to those who make too much money are also ended.”
The measure, which has been approved in the House of Representatives, would throw 3.8 million low-income people off the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program in 2014. An average of nearly 3 million people would be cut from the program each year over the next decade.
Food stamp recipients are not permitted to deduct their medical marijuana costs from their income. “[A] household may not utilize the SNAP medical deduction for the cost of any substance considered illegal under Federal law,” the USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service said in a memo published last year.