A line of cloned cannabis plants inside of a licensed Washington grow facility.

Sarah Climaco

Pennsylvania Auditor General Eugene DePasquale is urging state lawmakers to legalize cannabis for adult use to “help address [the state’s] revenue and spending issue.” In a press release, DePasquale outlined the economic windfall the legal cannabis has provided Washington, Colorado, and Oregon – noting that decriminalization measures in Philadelphia have saved the city more than $4.1 million.

“The regulation and taxation of the marijuana train has rumbled out of the station, and it is time to add a stop in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania,” he said in the release. “I make this recommendation because it is a more sane policy to deal with a critical issue facing the state. Other states are already taking advantage of the opportunity for massive job creation and savings from reduced arrests and criminal prosecutions. In addition, it would generate hundreds of millions of dollars each year that could help tackle Pennsylvania’s budget problems.”

There is a legalization bill filed for consideration this session in the state’s General Assembly which would regulate cannabis “in a manner similar to alcohol.” The proposal, sponsored by Democratic state Sen. Daylin Leach, does not specify what the tax rate on the industry would be if approved. That bill was sent to the Senate Law and Justice Committee on Jan. 26 but has not yet been weighed in on by the committee.

“The revenue that could be generated would help address Pennsylvania’s revenue and spending issue. But there is more to this than simply tax dollars and jobs,” DePasquale said. “There is also social impact, specifically related to arrests, and the personal, emotional, and financial devastation that may result from such arrests.”

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