Pennsylvania Auditor General Eugene DePasquale has proposed legalizing marijuana.

The state’s auditor general said legalizing and taxing marijuana would raise $200 million a year. Buy Photo

Should marijuana be legalized for recreational purposes in Pennsylvania?(Photo: Photo illustration by Michael K. Dakota, Lebanon Daily News)Buy Photo

Should Pennsylvania be the next state to legalize marijuana for recreational use?

Auditor General Eugene DePasquale thinks so.

On Monday, DePasquale proposed regulating and taxing marijuana, like Colorado and seven other states have already done.

Based on data from Colorado, DePasquale estimated that within a decade, marijuana would blossom into a $20 billion industry in Pennsylvania that would employ 280,000 and generate annual tax revenues of $200 million.

To support his proposal, DePasquale noted that the majority of Americans favor legalizing marijuana.

In February, Quinnipiac University released a poll  showing that 59 percent of U.S. voters support legalizing marijuana, with 36 percent in opposition to it. That’s an increase from 49 percent in favor and 47 percent opposed in Quinnipiac’s 2015 poll.

Quinnipiac’s latest results are almost identical to a Pew Research Center Poll taken in October which showed 57 percent favoring legalizing marijuana, while 37 percent say it should be illegal. That is a flip flop from 10 years ago when 32 percent favored and 60 percent opposed legalization.

In Pennsylvania, the latest polling by Franklin and Marshall College’s Center for Opinion Research was done in June of 2015 and showed that only 40 percent of the state’s registered voters favored legalizing marijuana, with 54 in opposition to it. Six percent had no opinion.

Support for legalizing marijuana in the state has been trending upward,

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