U.S. Senator Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), ranking member of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, today introduced a bill to prohibit the deduction of medical marijuana when determining federal nutrition benefits.
"Federal nutrition assistance, provided by American taxpayers, should not be boosted due to one's use of medical marijuana," said Roberts. "Marijuana is illegal to use or distribute in the United States and certainly has no place in the calculation of benefits for those in need."
At issue is the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program's (SNAP) formula that determines benefits by evaluating income and deducting expenses, including medical expenses. Currently five states allow medical marijuana as a medical expense for determining SNAP food benefits. Roberts' bill would make that practice illegal in every state.
"My bill makes it clear, in no uncertain terms, that the use of medical marijuana cannot be used to increase food benefits," Roberts said. "It is an abuse of precious taxpayer dollars and certainly against the policy of the United States."
To date, the Food and Drug Administration has not found smoked marijuana to be either safe or effective medicine for any condition. The use and distribution of marijuana is illegal in the United States. However, 16 states and the District of Columbia have permitted marijuana to be sold as a medicine.