Duh! Welfare cards banned at massage parlors, pot clubs
November 1, 2010
California welfare recipients will no longer be able to use their state-issued debit cards at medical marijuana shops, psychics, massage parlors and other businesses. [Los Angeles Times]
The governor’s office sent a letter to county welfare directors on Monday announcing that ATMs and point-of-sale card readers in such businesses will be removed from the network that accepts California’s Electronic Benefits Transfer cards.
Monday’s letter announced that the debit cards, which access cash meant to help families pay rent and clothe their children, also will no longer work at bail bond establishments, bingo halls, cruise ships, gun shops, bars, racetracks, smoking shops and tattoo parlors.
Reached late Monday afternoon, Department of Social Services spokesman Michael Weston could not say how much welfare money had been spent or withdrawn from the businesses subject to the new ban. He also would not elaborate on how they were chosen. The letter said the businesses are “inconsistent with the intent” of the program.
Last month, Schwarzenegger ordered casinos outside California removed from the network after The Times reported more than $69 million in welfare benefits had been accessed from machines outside the state since 2007 – including nearly $12 million in Las Vegas.
About $1.5 million had been spent or withdrawn in Florida, state records show. More than $16,000 had been accessed on cruise ships, including several that sail primarily from Miami.
Debit cards for California welfare recipients dates back to 2000.