Low-income patients in Maine, New Mexico and Oregon will no longer be able to deduct medical marijuana expenses from their income when applying for food stamps, a change mandated by the federal government.
We predicted this might happen earlier this month when several media outlets wrote eabout how the three states allow MMJ deductions for food stamp applicants.
These states have allowed the deductions for years, and in some cases longer than a decade. In some cases, food stamp recipients also received a special deduction on annual fees for an MMJ card. But the practice had continued under the radar until the media chose to highlight the situation this month, in part because medical marijuana has become such a hot-button issue.
The stories pushed the issue into the spotlight and put the government in an awkward position, as the food stamp program is federally funded. The government, ironically, has been allowing allowing such deductions even though medical marijuana is technically still illegal at the federal level.
Unfortunately for some MMJ patients, the government responded to the stories by ordering the states to end the deductions or face penalties.
Luckily, the number of patients that participate in the program is relatively low, so the development shouldn’t affect dispensaries too much. However, in the overall context of recent events, it’s yet another small setback for an industry trying to find its footing