Wolf: Legalizing Marijuana Won’t Help State Budget Deficit

Yesterday, the state’s auditor general said marijuana legalization could save the state millions of dollars. But Wolf isn’t on board – yet.

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf speaks with members of the media Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2015, at the state Capitol in Harrisburg, Pa. Gov. Tom Wolf's hopes of ending Pennsylvania's 99-day-old state budget impasse were dashed Wednesday when nine of his fellow Democrats joined all House Republicans to vote against his revised plan to raise billions in income and gas drilling taxes.

Yesterday, Pennsylvania Auditor General Eugene DePasquale called for the state to legalize marijuana, claiming it would “generate hundreds of millions of dollars each year that could help tackle Pennsylvania’s budget problems.” 

Today, Governor Tom Wolf pretty much squashed that idea.

According to CBS, Wolf spoke on Pittsburgh’s KDKA station this morning, asserting that marijuana legalization is “not going to help” the state’s $3 billion budget deficit, despite DePasquale’s recent report on the effects of regulated marijuana industries in other states – including a reported $220 million revenue boost in Washington, a $129 million boost in Colorado and a $65.4 million boost in Oregon.

The auditor general said marijuana legalization could save Pennsylvania about $200 million – and generate about $20 billion and 280,000 jobs in the next decade. But Wolf reportedly said legalization would hardly help with budget deficit.

The governor has previously expressed interest in marijuana decriminalization but has hesitated when it comes to full legalization in the state. Last year, he said the Pennsylvania should “wait and see” how other states are affected by legalization.

DePasquale pointed out that Philadelphia has saved $4.1 million by decriminalizing possession of small amounts of marijuana.

Follow @ClaireSasko on Twitter.

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