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Colorado Bans Use of EBT Cards at Dispensaries

Mark Miller

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On Friday, Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper signed two bills outlawing the use of electronic benefits cards (EBTs) to withdraw cash at ATMs located in legal cannabis stores and dispensaries.

The first bill, which originated in the state Senate, did not provide for monitoring of unauthorized withdrawals at ATMS; however, the second, which was approved by the state House in March, added “enforcement.”

In January 2014, state Democrats rejected GOP attempts to prohibit EBT cards at pot retailers, as they argued ATMs at dispensaries—for general cash access—may be more convenient in some neighborhoods than actual banks. However, support for the ban widened after increasing reports that EBTs were being used in pot shops.

The legislation Hickenlooper signed Friday also forbids the use of EBTs at strip clubs.

Welfare cards have been previously outlawed at Colorado liquor stores, casinos and gun shops. The Colorado Cannabis Chamber of Commerce, which represents various cannabis companies, is on board with the benefit cards ban.

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