Editorial: Wolf ignores DePasquale, writes off marijuana legalization – University of Pittsburgh The Pitt News
Pennsylvania was hardly a leader in the push for medicinal marijuana — it was the 24th state to legalize the drug for medicinal purposes — but now some are pushing for the Keystone state to blaze the trail for recreational use.
State Auditor General Eugene DePasquale encouraged the legalization of recreational marijuana in Pennsylvania at a press conference last Monday. In addition to pointing out the large financial benefits that could come from taxing the drug, DePasquale also cited the job growth and reduced cost in arrests the change would bring to the Commonwealth.
But Gov. Tom Wolf shut down the notions later in the week, saying the Commonwealth is not yet ready for legal marijuana and that the revenue from taxing the drug would bring in to PA isn’t enough to make a difference in the multi-million dollar budget deficit.
“[DePasquale’s] calculation I think had [the estimates at] about $200 million. We have a $3 billion deficit, so that’s not going to help,” Wolf told KDKA. With a hole that size, the governor isn’t in any position to be turning down easy money.
And even worse, he shouldn’t be falling back on his default answer of slowing down and testing out before implementing new legislation, like he’s been known to do. Pennsylvania needs cash now, so when an easy answer — in the form of taxable drugs — to our financial prayers presents itself, and comes packaged with a recommendation from the chief fiscal officer of the state, we should take advantage of it.
And we’ve seen how the legalization is profitable for other states as well. Colorado made $129 million in taxes and fees in 2016 alone and Washington raked in more than $250 million in taxes from July 2014 to 2016. And as DePasquale pointed out, the