Recreational pot can help state budget (letter) – The Evening Sun
Today’s top headlines. The Evening Sun
Letter to the editor(Photo: File)
If you’ve been a resident of Pennsylvania in the past year, or at any point, you’ll know that the budget deficit is one of the biggest issues that is facing the commonwealth right now.
In fact, Pennsylvania is running a $600 million deficit. It’s near insurmountable. Of course, we all want the budget to be balanced, but no one wants to pay more taxes. What if I told you that there was simple solution, a solution that other states have already been capitalizing on?
Legalized, regulated, and taxed recreational marijuana.
Now please, hear me out. This makes sense, this isn’t insane, and this will not unravel the fabric of society. The numbers add up. Ignoring the overall support of the policy, though that is reaching record numbers, Colorado raked in $1 billion in revenue from recreational sales alone in 2016. Colorado has an estimated population of 5,540,545, and it pulled in $1 billion in sales, not to mention the tourist industry it creates.
The population of Pennsylvania is 12,784,227, 43 percent more than Colorado. This means you could estimate that our revenue from recreational marijuana could be 43 percent higher, $1.43 billion. This is more than enough to fix the budget deficit of Pennsylvania, plus some.
This is just the straight sale numbers, remember that tourist industry I mentioned? That is booming as well with Colorado raking in $1.13 billion in taxes, both state and local. That $1.13 billion also creates jobs, and lots of them.
Would you still like more numbers? The Pennsylvania prison system spends $2.5 million to house non-violent marijuana offenders, that is $2.5 million that could