Fact Check

Colorado Pot Shop Accepting Food Stamps - Taxpayer Funded Marijuana for Welfare Recipients

Does a store in Colorado accept food stamps towards the purchase of food items containing marijuana?

Published Jan 5, 2014

Claim:   A store in Colorado accepts food stamps towards the purchase of food items containing marijuana.


Example:   [Collected via e-mail, January 2014]

Is there a pot shop in Colorado that is taking food stamps for food items containing marijuana?


Origins:   On 3 January 2014, the National Report published an article positing that in Colorado (where marijuana use had just been legalized) a store had begun accepting food stamps towards the purchase of food items made with marijuana:

As of January 1st, 2014, Colorado became the first state in the nation to allow adults aged 21 or older to purchase and use marijuana for recreational use. The decision has led to excessively large lines at pot shops across the state and store owners reportedly surpassed $1 million in sales statewide on just the first day according to Denver's 9News.

In all, 136 licenses have been approved by the state of Colorado for retail operations for the purposes of selling marijuana. A majority of those licenses were issued to
businesses in Denver with just eighteen city stores completing the process in time for opening day. One of those shops, Rite Greens, located on E. Colfax Ave in Denver, has taken the steps needed to accept food stamps (now called EBT cards) for the purposes of purchasing marijuana, effectively leading to taxpayer funded marijuana for welfare recipients.

Electronic Benefit Transfer cards — part of the Department of Agriculture’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program — are typically of two general categories: food and cash benefits. [Store owner] JC Franco was able to take advantage of a loophole in the SNAP program as his shop sells a wide array of "edible" marijuana ranging from cookies and brownies to barbeque sauce and homemade butter.

By the end of the day links and excerpts referencing this article were being circulated via social media, with many of those who encountered it mistaking it for a genuine news item. However, the article was just a bit of political humor from the National Report spoofing the controversy over legalized recreational marijuana use and stereotypes about recipients of government assistance.

The National Report is a satirical web site that publishes outrageous fictional stories such as "IRS Plans to Target Leprechauns Next," "Boy Scouts Announce Boobs Merit Badge," and "New CDC Study Indicates Pets of Gay Couples Worse at Sports, Better at Fashion Than Pets of Straight Couples." The National Report's (since removed) disclaimer page states that:

National Report is a news and political satire web publication, which may or may not use real names, often in semi-real or mostly fictitious ways. All news articles contained within National Report are fiction, and presumably fake news. Any resemblance to the truth is purely coincidental.

(NOTE: A good deal of misunderstanding about the use of EBT funds to purchase marijuana has led many readers to maintain that the article referenced above, though satirical in nature, is true in concept. We address those misconceptions in a separate article.)

Last updated:   13 September 2014

David Mikkelson founded the site now known as snopes.com back in 1994.

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