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AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) -- Maine Gov. Paul LePage says the new electronic benefit cards with photos on them will ensure taxpayer dollars are being spent appropriately and allow officials to identify abuse.

In his weekly radio address, LePage applauded the new cards that officials began handing out on Monday.

Recipients are switching over to the new cards voluntarily in Bangor first so that the state can try out the new system. Ultimately, recipients across Maine will have photos on the cards, which are used to buy food and other necessities.

LePage says the cards are being traded as currency and have also been seized during drug busts.

Last week, the federal government urged Maine not to start using the new cards until it can ensure that recipients and retailers won't be negatively impacted.

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