Auditor General Eugene DePasquale and Russ Mayo

Auditor General Eugene DePasquale, right, at a news conference with Allentown School Superintendent Russell Mayo. (Sara K. Satullo | For lehighvalleylive.com)

State Auditor General Eugene DePasquale thinks Pennsylvania should legalize recreational marijuana, saying the tax revenue would help the state out of a recurring budget deficit and generate jobs. He also thinks keeping recreational users out of the criminal justice system is the right thing to do.

Looking at other states’ experiences with legalization, DePasquale says Pennsylvania — which is dealing with a $3 billion “structural” budget gap — could generate $20 billion in tax revenue and create 280,000 jobs over the next 10 years by regulating and taxing the sale of marijuana.

Gov. Tom Wolf, however, doesn’t think legalizing pot would make a sizable dent in the state’s budget woes.

On a federal level, Colorado, Washington, Oregon and seven other states that have legalized marijuana could face sanctions from the Trump administration. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has warned of a crackdown based on the federal law that still recognizes pot as a dangerous drug. The New Jersey Legislature is again considering a legalization bill.

What do you think? Should Pennsylvania legalize recreational marijuana? Have a say in our poll, and feel free to join the conversation in the comments section.

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