Pennsylvania Auditor General Eugene DePasquale has released a special report that says Pennsylvania‘s legal cannabis market would comprise more than $1.66 billion, which, if taxed at 35 percent, would produce $581 million dollars in tax revenue for the state, according to a report by WGAL Lancaster. The numbers in DePasquale’s report are based on an average yearly spend of $2080 per cannabis user, from data based on legal markets in Washington and Colorado.
DePasquale has long been a proponent of legalizing cannabis for adult use. He said tax dollars from legal cannabis could be used to help fund opioid addiction treatment or better health care for veterans and children.
DePasquale said in the introduction of the special report:
“Across the U.S., state after state is regulating and taxing marijuana. This move reflects an observable shift in public perspective on adult use and on increasing acknowledgment of the financial and public health benefits associated with regulation and taxation.
“As Philadelphia and Pittsburgh have demonstrated, decriminalizing marijuana saves millions in court costs alone. But stopping at decriminalization would be a costly mistake for the commonwealth, potentially leaving more than $581 million in annual tax revenue on the table. That revenue could help balance the state budget and provide business and job opportunities — and the way to access it is for Pennsylvania to allow the cultivation, sale and purchase of marijuana.” — Excerpt, Special Report on Regulating & Taxing Marijuana
DePasquale cited a variety of benefits and potential risks in the special report, which concluded:
“Imagine how Pennsylvania could benefit from $581 million annually. That tax revenue means:
- Balanced budgets.
- Revived initiatives that affect Pennsylvanians’ lives.
- Greater resources to address the opioid crisis.
- Better health care access for veterans.
- Hundreds of millions of dollars in criminal justice savings.
- The creation of a booming $1.66 billion market that will create jobs.
- More employees able to qualify for all types of jobs because they do not have criminal records for simple possession.
- The benefits of regulating and taxing marijuana are undeniable. As its neighbors weigh the issue, Pennsylvania must act to create its own marijuana market. Otherwise, it runs the risk of losing the revenue from potential customers to other states.
“It is time for Pennsylvania to stop imagining the benefits of marijuana and realize them.”
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