Can You Buy Cannabis Products With Food Stamps?

Glass jar full of Cannabis Sativa for sale at a market stall.
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The U.S. Department of Agriculture has strict guidelines on what you can buy with Supplementary Nutrition Assistance Program benefits, otherwise known as food stamps. This applies to both food items and non-food items such as cannabis products.

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Certain non-food items are specifically designated as eligible to be purchased with SNAP benefits, according to the USDA website. When it comes to cannabis products, the USDA draws a line between hemp food products generally recognized as safe by the Food and Drug Administration and items that contain cannabis-derived products.

As the USDA states: “Food products that contain hulled hemp seed, hemp seed protein powder, and hemp seed oil may be purchased with SNAP benefits. However, hemp plants, leaves, and shoots are not eligible to be purchased with SNAP benefits. Food containing cannabis-derived products, such as CBD, and any other controlled substances, are not eligible to be purchased with SNAP benefits.”

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Similarly, SNAP benefits cannot be used to buy beer, wine, liquor, cigarettes or tobacco.

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Non-food items specifically designated as eligible for purchase with food stamps include the following:

  • Seeds and plants used in gardens to produce food for human consumption
  • Hunting and fishing equipment used in remote areas of Alaska, but only for eligible households who live in areas determined to have “extremely limited access” to retail food stores, and who rely substantially on hunting and fishing as a food source. Eligible households are issued identification cards that indicate their ability to purchase the equipment.
  • Military commissary surcharges established under federal law can be paid for with SNAP benefits.

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About the Author

Vance Cariaga is a London-based writer, editor and journalist who previously held staff positions at Investor’s Business Daily, The Charlotte Business Journal and The Charlotte Observer. His work also appeared in Charlotte Magazine, Street & Smith’s Sports Business Journal and Business North Carolina magazine. He holds a B.A. in English from Appalachian State University and studied journalism at the University of South Carolina. His reporting earned awards from the North Carolina Press Association, the Green Eyeshade Awards and AlterNet. In addition to journalism, he has worked in banking, accounting and restaurant management. A native of North Carolina who also writes fiction, Vance’s short story, “Saint Christopher,” placed second in the 2019 Writer’s Digest Short Short Story Competition. Two of his short stories appear in With One Eye on the Cows, an anthology published by Ad Hoc Fiction in 2019. His debut novel, Voodoo Hideaway, was published in 2021 by Atmosphere Press.
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