Pennsylvania’s chief fiscal officer called Thursday for the state to tax and regulate marijuana. His analysis projects a $1.66-billion market of more than 798,000 monthly users.
Auditor General Eugene DePasquale said the financial and public health benefits of regulating and taxing marijuana are “undeniable.”
“As Philadelphia and Pittsburgh have demonstrated, decriminalizing marijuana saves millions in court costs alone,” DePasquale said in his report. “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.”
He encouraged the state to permit the plant’s cultivation, sale and purchase to spur job creation, improve veteran health care, curb opioid abuse and cut both arrests and criminal justice costs.
Why It’s Important
Fresh economic interest in cannabis — particularly from a state that has legalized only medical marijuana, with just seven cities having decriminalized possession altogether — is a positive for the greater U.S. decriminalization movement.
“The fact that a government agency is putting out a report calling for taxation and regulation is meaningful,” Height Capital Markets analysts said Friday.
How Pennsylvania legislators, or those of any other state, will respond to the recommendation is yet to be seen.
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