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Welfare cash pulled from ATMs inside Colorado pot shops
KDVR-TV ^ | February 20, 2014 | Chris Halsne and Chris Koeberl

Posted on 02/21/2014 8:27:01 PM PST by 2ndDivisionVet

(VIDEO-AT-LINK)

DENVER — Colorado welfare recipients are using ATMs located inside marijuana retail shops to withdraw cash.

The money was given to them by taxpayers to help their families survive, but an exclusive Fox31 Denver investigation found some cash benefits most likely going toward marijuana purchases.

FOX31 Denver asked the Colorado Department of Human Services for its “Quest card” database of Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) cash transactions for the month of January, 2014.

That is the first month in which Colorado marijuana dispensaries were regulated and open for recreational sales.

The FOX31 Denver investigative team matched the addresses of EBT cash withdrawal locations with the addresses of Colorado’s marijuana dispensaries.

In one month, records show 19 different marijuana retail stores had at least one welfare recipient walk into their business, insert a Quest debit card into an ATM machine inside the store, then withdraw at least $20 cash.

It is unknown how many dispensaries have ATMs inside their stores because the state of Colorado does not regulate the machines or keep track of their locations.

We also found welfare clients used state-issued debit cards inside marijuana retail stores to collect cash at least 56 times for a total of $3,895. Names like Medicine Man, Starbuds, The Green Solution, MMJ Uptown and The Sanctuary stood out.

A dispensary client named “Robbie” stopped to speak with FOX31 Denver outside MMJ to voice his concerns.

“It’s not discretionary money. It’s survival money. It’s for food and basic necessities and not for entertainment.”

We asked the overseers of cash assistance for low income families, the Colorado Department of Human Services, to review our findings.

Benefits director Lovetta Love told FOX31 Denver investigative reporter Chris Halsne, “What I can say is that we are very concerned about our programs — the integrity of our programs.”

Love also said until the legislature makes the rules more clear, what we found is legal under state law.

“Our research has shown that the majority of our recipients use their benefits to pay rent, to pay for household supplies, soap diapers, care for their children — those kinds of things. But we have no ability to determine what they can use their money for.”

FOX31 Denver spoke with several marijuana dispensary operators who were not too surprised by our findings, including “Brett,” who runs Starbuds on Brighton Boulevard.

“”Well if an EBT card is meant to be used at any ATM, I guess it’s to be used for whatever they think is necessary. We are a medical facility as well so if they were using it for medical applications, that’s a gray area right there.”

Another manager, who spoke on the condition we not use his name, told Halsne that Quest or EBT debit cards, used by welfare recipients, look very similar to all other debit cards.

He says he “would have no way of knowing if welfare cash was being used for the purchase.” He added, however, that as a taxpayer, the misuse of public money bothers him. In his mind, welfare money is supposed to be used for necessities, not recreational items.

It remains possible that some Quest card users pulled cash from an ATM inside a marijuana retail store, than pocketed the cash without buying pot. However, customers who spoke with us admit it’s a stretch to think the money was being used for anything else.

We visited many of the dispensaries to find that not only was marijuana the only product on sale at the location, but access to the ATMs were often in secure or guarded locations not easily accessible by the public.

Leo Branstetter, who lives across the street from one of the recreational marijuana dispensaries on our list, could not believe his ears when we told him about how tax money was being used.

“No. No. No. That’s the last thing that should happen. Ever. No. There’s no justifying any of that. No way. That should never happen. If there’s no oversight, it’s going to happen exponentially.”

It is against Colorado and federal law for welfare recipients to withdraw cash from a casino ATM and spend it gambling.

However, Colorado state lawmakers have not yet made it illegal for such a transaction to occur inside marijuana dispensaries.

Democratic lawmakers in Colorado killed a bill several weeks ago that would have prevented such withdrawals in both marijuana dispensaries and strip clubs.

(VIDEO-AT-LINK)


TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Culture/Society; Government; US: Colorado
KEYWORDS: atm; colorado; drugs; foodstamps; libertarian; libertarianism; libertarians; marijuana; medicalmarijuana; welfare

1 posted on 02/21/2014 8:27:01 PM PST by 2ndDivisionVet
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

At least they’re not buying cigarettes - now THAT would be criminal...


2 posted on 02/21/2014 8:28:48 PM PST by Paulie (Buy local, bank local, exert your influence locally; the left will fold like a cheap suit.)
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Comment #3 Removed by Moderator

To: 2ndDivisionVet

No welfare cash inside any store that does not sell things humans need for survival. There you go, there’s the solution.


4 posted on 02/21/2014 8:30:30 PM PST by freedom462
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

We need a way to herd these pot smoking welfare recipients into places where their votes cost the least amount of damage.

How about an incentive for them to move to places like Baltimore and CA??

Well worth our tax $$$ if it works.

Like mouse traps.


5 posted on 02/21/2014 8:33:44 PM PST by sickoflibs (Obama : 'Any path to US citizenship for illegals HERE is a special path to it ')
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Is anyone surprised?


6 posted on 02/21/2014 8:34:42 PM PST by P-Marlowe (There can be no Victory without a fight and no battle without wounds)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Is welfare allowed to be turned into cash? How do we ever know what they spend it on? You could take cash and buy heroin too. Why is this ok?


7 posted on 02/21/2014 8:35:40 PM PST by Yaelle
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
This: It is unknown how many dispensaries have ATMs inside their stores because the state of Colorado does not regulate the machines or keep track of their locations.

Does not go with this: It is against Colorado and federal law for welfare recipients to withdraw cash from a casino ATM and spend it gambling.

The first of those two statements must be the false one. If they can keep them from spitting EBT money out of a machine in a Casino, they can keep them from doing it in MJ stores as well.

8 posted on 02/21/2014 8:36:07 PM PST by Cyber Liberty (H.L. Mencken: "The urge to save humanity is almost always a false front for the urge to rule.")
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To: P-Marlowe

Originally only landowners could vote.

Maybe only people not on welfare or unemployment or disability should vote. I know that seems mean, because I’d like to be able to vote on disability, but I don’t know where to draw the line. I am thinking that maybe it would be better to have able bodied taxpayers decide alone what to do with tax dollars. They belong to them.


9 posted on 02/21/2014 8:38:12 PM PST by Yaelle
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To: Yaelle

That didn’t come out right. I am not on disability. But IF I WERE for some reason, I’d like to still be able to vote.


10 posted on 02/21/2014 8:38:59 PM PST by Yaelle
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Who didn’t see this coming?


11 posted on 02/21/2014 8:40:20 PM PST by Jane Long (While Marxists continue the fundamental transformation of the USA, progressive RINOs assist!)
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To: sickoflibs

When I worked at the unemployment office in Iowa we’d give hobos and bums one way bus tickets to Florida and California.


12 posted on 02/21/2014 8:41:55 PM PST by 2ndDivisionVet (I will raise $2M for Sarah Palin's next run, what will you do?)
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To: Yaelle

This is not a new development.


13 posted on 02/21/2014 8:42:45 PM PST by 2ndDivisionVet (I will raise $2M for Sarah Palin's next run, what will you do?)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Interesting. Did any come back to your office after going out of state?


14 posted on 02/21/2014 8:45:49 PM PST by Redcitizen (When a zombie apocalypse starts, Chuck Norris doesn't try to survive. The zombies do.)
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To: Redcitizen

Not a one. I’d almost bet they’re still doing it. On a different note, when I taught a “job-seeking” class for welfare moms, I saw 5th and sixth generation recipients! And they drove better cars and wore nicer clothes than I did.


15 posted on 02/21/2014 8:49:52 PM PST by 2ndDivisionVet (I will raise $2M for Sarah Palin's next run, what will you do?)
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To: Yaelle

Welfare cash has been available since 1935, at least.


16 posted on 02/21/2014 8:52:17 PM PST by steve86 (Some things aren't really true but you wouldn't be half surprised if they were.)
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To: Yaelle

I hired a young Black man to be a general clerk in our office years ago. Nice, polite, educated enough to do the job. Came in one day and said he was having trouble paying his electric bill and wanted me to give him an advance on his salary. Told him I would pay his light bill directly to the utility company if he would bring it in for me to see but would not give him any money. He said okay but never brought the bill in, never asked about an advance after that and a couple of weeks later suddenly didn’t show up to work. Nobody knew what happened to him.

If taxpayers are giving people money to pay their rent and utilities, IMO the check should go direct to the landlord and utility company. Would cut down on some of these issues.


17 posted on 02/21/2014 8:53:45 PM PST by Grams A (The Sun will rise in the East in the morning and God is still on his throne.)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Things haven’t changed. A coworker of mine worked at the same type of place that you did about 7 to 10 years ago. He said people would drive in to the parking lot driving nice cars and still max out on benefits due to gaming the system.


18 posted on 02/21/2014 8:54:34 PM PST by Redcitizen (When a zombie apocalypse starts, Chuck Norris doesn't try to survive. The zombies do.)
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To: Paulie

“At least they’re not buying cigarettes - now THAT would be criminal...”

Or Coke.


19 posted on 02/21/2014 8:54:56 PM PST by Proud2BeRight
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
And they drove better cars and wore nicer clothes than I did.

One thing I would say about the nice cars, though, is that they get repossessed at an extraordinarily high rate. Back to the used car lot, sold again the next day. Repossessed again and so on. Some up to 10 times. The dealers expect this and it is part of their business model.

20 posted on 02/21/2014 8:55:16 PM PST by steve86 (Some things aren't really true but you wouldn't be half surprised if they were.)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Well, we’ve already seen EBT used at casinos and for cruise ship tickets, so I’m not surprised weed is being bought now as well.

The same thing happened in the days of the paper food stamps, too. 50 cents on the dollar was the going rate, IIRC.

What a mess.


21 posted on 02/21/2014 9:04:18 PM PST by DemforBush (A Repo Man is *always* intense.)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

This is likely to blow up in their (Colorado lawmakers) faces.


22 posted on 02/21/2014 9:11:15 PM PST by Octar
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

End cash assistance. It’s absurd.


23 posted on 02/21/2014 9:18:21 PM PST by andyk (I have sworn...eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man.)
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To: P-Marlowe

The destruction of America continues as it goes to pot on 0’s watch just as he planned...


24 posted on 02/21/2014 9:20:18 PM PST by jsanders2001
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To: P-Marlowe
do I really have to say it???

25 posted on 02/21/2014 9:28:23 PM PST by Chode (Stand UP and Be Counted, or line up and be numbered - *DTOM* -vvv- NO Pity for the LAZY - 86-44)
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To: Grams A

I had an employer who would give people advances. Certain people very quickly figured it out that that made them unfirable, because the boss would keep them until their debt to him was paid, but they’d keep needing “advances” so they always had a debt.

One woman robbed the deli counter of food every night, and wore the same pair of plastic gloves all day long, but he wouldn’t fire her until she worked off her “advance”.


26 posted on 02/21/2014 9:29:19 PM PST by Ellendra ("Laws were most numerous when the Commonwealth was most corrupt." -Tacitus)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

...generating more revenues to the State. Looks like another roundabout way to get more federal funding into local government.


27 posted on 02/21/2014 9:31:51 PM PST by familyop (We Baby Boomers are croaking in an avalanche of corruption smelled around the planet.)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

“Welfare cash pulled from ATMs inside Colorado pot shops”

This is my shocked face....

Seriously, who didn’t see that one coming?


28 posted on 02/21/2014 10:45:23 PM PST by tcrlaf (Well, it is what the Sheeple voted for....)
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To: freedom462

“No welfare cash inside any store that does not sell things humans need for survival.”

No welfare cash period! These cards should only be redeemable for food and shelter for which they are intended


29 posted on 02/21/2014 10:49:39 PM PST by Figment
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To: sickoflibs

I like your thinking, mousetraps indeed


30 posted on 02/21/2014 10:50:55 PM PST by Figment
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To: Figment; Impy; NFHale; BillyBoy; fieldmarshaldj
RE :”I like your thinking, mousetraps indeed”

Thanks, maybe its worth repeating for these friends:

We need a way to herd these pot smoking welfare recipients into places where their votes cost the least amount of damage.

How about an incentive for them to move to places like Baltimore and CA??

Well worth our tax $$$ if it works.

Like mouse traps.

31 posted on 02/21/2014 10:55:40 PM PST by sickoflibs (Obama : 'Any path to US citizenship for illegals HERE is a special path to it ')
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To: sickoflibs; Figment; NFHale; BillyBoy; fieldmarshaldj

There’s been a lot of talk about conservatives moving (usually to Sainted Texas). This is the first suggestion I’ve heard of the reverse, herding libtards, I like it.


32 posted on 02/21/2014 11:55:31 PM PST by Impy (RED=COMMUNIST, NOT REPUBLICAN)
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To: Yaelle

I know what you mean...it’s tough. I think it should be divided between voluntary and involuntary circumstances. A person with a legitimate, documented disability is no danger to the Republic.

I trust them to vote with integrity - they make do with what they have, and they’re not looking to get rich off the system. I think the same principle applies to temporary unemployment; they paid taxes while working.

Welfare and disability fraud is a whole other animal. These people are dangerous, because they want something for nothing. They can be bought with just the promise of being given more than they already have.

It is a massive conflict of interest - it’s easy to vote yourself money when you have no skin in the game, and that’s where we are.

I would not be opposed to tying voting to property or income taxes - if you are exempt from paying taxes on April 15th of an election year, you cannot vote in that election. If you actually received more money back than paid through the earned income tax credit, you cannot vote.

It’s the only way to remove the conflict of interest, in my opinion.


33 posted on 02/22/2014 1:35:33 AM PST by scott7278 ("...I have not changed Congress and how it operates the way I would have liked..." - BHO)
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To: scott7278

I should also add, to keep things fair, no one in a higher tax bracket can legally maneuver things, using tax lawyers and accountants, to where they effectively wind up paying less than the lowest rate. Crony capitalism must end, too.

Of course, I’m a proponent of capping the federal rate at 7%, but baby steps first.


34 posted on 02/22/2014 1:48:24 AM PST by scott7278 ("...I have not changed Congress and how it operates the way I would have liked..." - BHO)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Breaking news......... welfare checks, obama phones and food stamps used at liquer stores, illegal drug sales, casino gambling, lotto sales, cigarretts and VACATIONS! While you and I get out of bed everymorning at 4 am put in 12 + hours at work 7 days aweek 365 a year we still are known as the rich who refuse to be fair and share our wealth with the poor


35 posted on 02/22/2014 3:43:47 AM PST by ronnie raygun (zippy the a##clown sez..............................)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

You have to remember that pot is medicine, and medicine is a Human Right. So, it’s entirely appropriate that welfare money should be used to buy pot. /s


36 posted on 02/22/2014 3:58:47 AM PST by Fresh Wind (The last remnants of the Old Republic have been swept away.)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Can we at least get a thank-you card? The people who have worked honestly all their lives continue to fund the lifestyle of the criminals, slackers, parasites, druggies, loafers and other democrat-voters.


37 posted on 02/22/2014 4:20:16 AM PST by I want the USA back (Media: completely irresponsible traitors. Complicit in the destruction of our country.)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Good. Keep em stoned and playing video games. Pay the females well to accept norplants.


38 posted on 02/22/2014 5:00:06 AM PST by olepap (Your old Pappy)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

WOw, am I surprised.....NOT!


39 posted on 02/22/2014 6:28:24 AM PST by KosmicKitty (WARNING: Hormonally crazed woman ahead!!)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

The right entrepreneur will come along one day and open a store that sells, liquor, tobacco, firearms, weed, explosives, sex toys, candy bars, and coffee.

May that person be blessed.

I encourage then to accept SNAP cards.


40 posted on 02/22/2014 6:39:14 AM PST by Rodamala
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To: Rodamala

Bump!

:D


41 posted on 02/22/2014 6:45:59 AM PST by Cringing Negativism Network ( http://www.census.gov/foreign-trade/balance/c5700.html#2013)
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To: steve86

I have heard of a guy that owns a car lot here. He finances and sells to anyone. Exorbitant rates and I have heard that every car sold has a GPS tracker in it. One payment and it is gone.....to be quickly resold. Heckuva business model.


42 posted on 02/22/2014 6:53:20 AM PST by sheana
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To: Cyber Liberty
CL wrote: If they can keep them from spitting EBT money out of a machine in a Casino, they can keep them from doing it in MJ stores as well.

The Republicans at the State House introduced a bill to block welfare cash withdrawals at pot stores (and strip clubs) a couple weeks ago and the dems killed it immediately.

I suspect if they could, the dems would repeal the rules against using welfare money at casinos as well.

43 posted on 02/22/2014 8:37:42 AM PST by KitJ (Shall not be infringed)
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To: Paulie

They aren’t buying big gulps are they?


44 posted on 02/22/2014 8:43:45 AM PST by Scotswife
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To: KitJ
I suspect if they could, the dems would repeal the rules against using welfare money at casinos as well.

So do I, they fought the Casino transaction ban tooth and nail. Welfare recipients are usually on welfare because they don't prioritize the expenditures they have properly, and Rats like to just throw cash at them indiscriminately so they can continue to prioritize poorly. That's how you can be assured of their votes.

45 posted on 02/22/2014 8:54:32 AM PST by Cyber Liberty (H.L. Mencken: "The urge to save humanity is almost always a false front for the urge to rule.")
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To: I want the USA back

Not only will you not get a thank you card, the dead beats resent you because you are “rich” and don’t share enough with them. You are their oppressor and the reason they can’t get ahead. And the dems and lib media keep pounding that message home to them.


46 posted on 02/22/2014 8:57:55 AM PST by Mom MD
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To: P-Marlowe
not surprised...and I'll predict we'll see crime increase as the users need money to feed their habit....we'll see highschoolers using more....

and then we'll see the rush towards stronger stuff....if pot is so innocent why not just allow heroin?....

then we'll get the free syringes being passed out....

so we can't buy sudafed in a store without signing our names and showing a license, and we can't buy cigarrettes in CVS pharmacies, and we can't smoke, not even those electronic cigarrettes anywhere reasonable, yet we're going to let all this trash buy pot with our tax money....

I'm waiting for the antismoking ads to get going again....hey, maybe the lawyers can have a class action suit in a couple of years...

47 posted on 02/22/2014 11:24:00 AM PST by cherry
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