By  | From Watchdog.org

Credit: Tanjila Ahmed

During the last few years, signs of a rollback in the war on drugs have been seen in Pennsylvania.

In 2016, the commonwealth legalized medical marijuana.

Pittsburgh decriminalized small amounts of pot in 2015, and has continually lessened penalties for possession and use.

On the other hand, medical dispensaries are not yet set up and running in the state, and aren’t expected to be until 2018. The list of acceptable medical reasons for a marijuana prescription is short, and the methods of drug delivery limited.

And Pennsylvania’s political culture is not the kind that has been all that welcoming to marijuana legalization.

The state was carried by Donald Trump in 2016. Western Pennsylvania has for years been the kind of old-school Democratic haven that supported unions and police, not innovation and reform.

But the combination of misallocated police resources and a blooming budget crisis might turn the tide.

The Pennsylvania state auditor general has an idea that recreational marijuana could be part of a solution to the state’s budget woes.

According to a Pittsburgh Post-Gazette article, “In 2016, taxing [recreational] marijuana brought in $220 million in Washington, $129 million in Colorado and $65.4 million in Oregon.”

Auditor General Eugene DePasquale suggested earlier this month that recreational marijuana might bring $200 million in tax revenue to Harrisburg.

Republican majorities in the state legislature, usually averse to raising taxes, are trying to work through the state’s lack of money. Democratic Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf has put together a proposal — his third attempt — that wouldn’t increase broad-based taxes,  would include some potentially contentious cuts to services such as police and community centers, and would increase state spending overall by $1 billion.

Marijuana might not fix all of Pennsylvania’s problems, but $200 million would certainly cut

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