Pennsylvania Auditor Wants to Close Budget Gap by Legalizing Marijuana

Article by Alana Abramson, Time

Leaves of a marijuana plant are displayed at The International Cannabis and Hemp in Daly City, California

Pennsylvania’s auditor has an idea to combat the state’s budget deficit — legalize recreational marijuana.

Eugene DePasquale, the state’s auditor, said Monday at a news conference that legalizing marijuana could amass at least $200 a year for Pennsylvania, The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports. His projections are based on Colorado, where legalizing weed brought in nearly $70 million in May 2016.

He did note that it was only one of many ideas he has on how to close the state’s budget gap, which could be as high as $3 billion for the next two years.

“I wasn’t necessarily convinced Pennsylvania should be the first, but now that we have actual results and data from other states, the evidence is clear that this can be both good socially and fiscally,” Mr. DePasquale said, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Pennsylvania is one of 17 states with pending legislation that would legalize recreational marijuana, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. There are eight states including Massachusetts and California that currently allow small amounts of marijuana for adult-recreational use.

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