The auditor of Pennsylvania believes he has the solution to the state’s budget deficit – legal weed. Auditor Eugene DePasquale recently told reporters that legal cannabis could bring in hundreds of millions of dollars a year for the Keystone State, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports. DePasquale bases his projections on Colorado, where legal weed industry figures reached around $70 million in summer 2016.
Pennsylvania seems to need all the help they can get when it comes to the state budget crisis. The budget deficit could be as high as $3 billion over the course of the next few years. DePasquale made it clear that legalization was just one idea to help balance the state’s books.
As you probably know, this past election cycle was huge for the legalization movement. Pennsylvania now joins 16 other states with pending legislation legalizing adult consumption of cannabis, as per the National Conference of State Legislatures.
Of course, virtually no one wanted to take on the task of being the first state to get the ball rolling – which is why we should be thanking Colorado for providing a relatively solid benchmark to follow on the path to recreational cannabis.
“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,” DePasquale said, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
If DePasquale’s legalization idea gains momentum and eventually gets voted on, this would be a monumental win for marijuana advocates in a state which just recently saw the passing of medical cannabis and is still waiting the implementation of the program. The state’s medical program has some of the worse restrictions in the country, but DePasquale may have just gotten the ball rolling towards those restrictions never even becoming an issue. This could also help the Keystone State’s economy in the future as well, as fewer patients seeking relief with medical marijuana will have to move out of state to gain access to their medicine.
What do you think? Is there a good chance this DePasquale could see his legalization idea implemented in Pennsylvania? Which of the other states have the best chance at legalization?