USDA Draws The Line On Food Stamps, Rules Against Medical Marijuana Deductions

It’s the last dance with Mary Jane for states that had been illegally allowing food stamp recipients to claim deductions for medical marijuana.

The Department of Agriculture last month sent out a memo ordering states to stop permitting the practice. Though 18 states currently allow medical marijuana use in some capacity, it remains illegal under federal law.

And until recently, at least a few states were allowing food stamp users to deduct the cost of their medical marijuana in order to meet the income eligibility requirements.

For instance, a family of four under USDA guidelines must earn less than $1,863 a month to qualify for food stamps. In limited cases, families were deducting the cost of their medical marijuana every month to bring their monthly income within that limit.

That’s a no-no, Lizbeth Silbermann, director of the USDA program development division, wrote in the memo last month.

“FNS is now reaffirming its long standing policy that a household may not utilize the SNAP medical deduction for the cost of any substance considered illegal under Federal law,” she wrote. SNAP stands for Supplement Nutrition Assistance Program, also known as food stamps.

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