Food stamp recipients would be prevented from that or any other form of federal aid from buy medical marijuana, under legislation introduced by Rep. Paul Gosar.
The Arizona Republican's bill, the No Welfare for Weed Act, would prohibit pot from being bought by people using Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) or the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance (SNAP) programs. TANF is the federal welfare program, and SNAP is commonly referred to as the federal food stamp program.
Gosar said his bill is a reaction to a report that people are using their welfare benefits to buy marijuana. He said current law prohibits welfare benefits for purchases in strip clubs, liquor stores or casinos, and said his bill would add marijuana dispensaries to this list.
"Regardless of your feelings on states' rights, 'medical' marijuana or recreational marijuana, people shouldn't be able to get high using hard-earned taxpayer money," Gosar said in a statement.
"These programs are meant to provide subsidies for food and other basic living essentials for the neediest families," he added. "Unfortunately, there are always unscrupulous people looking for ways to game the system, which makes this common-sense update to federal law necessary."
Support at the state level for medical marijuana has grown. Twenty states and the District of Columbia have legalized medical marijuana, and Colorado and Washington state allow marijuana to be used recreationally.
Gosar's marijuana legislation is in line with his conservative outlook. He beat incumbent Democratic Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick in 2010 (she returned to the House in the 2012 elections in a redrawn district.)
The 2014 Almanac of American Politics writes that after taking office Gosar "was given a seat on the Oversight and Government Reform Committee and became one of the first House members to call on Attorney General to resign in 2011 because of the failed 'Operation Fast and Furious,' a program that facilitated the sale of thousands of weapons to Mexican drug cartels.
And on the Natural Resources Committee, the Almanac notes, Gosar "got a bill into law aimed at eliminating red tape on a dam project spanning the Coconino and Tonto national forests and won House passage of a bill that would swap 2,400 acres of Tonto forest land to make way for a new 4 billion copper mine."