HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Pennsylvania’s elected fiscal watchdog says legalizing and taxing the sale and use of marijuana at 35 percent could add more than a half-million dollars to state coffers.
Auditor General Eugene DePasquale released a 14-page report Thursday that said there are about 800,000 regular users of the drug in the state.
DePasquale, a Democrat, says assuming Pennsylvania taxed the growth, cultivation and sale of marijuana at 35 percent, the state would collect roughly $581 million in tax revenue annually.
“Imagine what that $581 million could mean for Pennsylvanians,” DePasquale said. “Not only would it help balance the state budget, but it would also mean increases to initiatives that affect Pennsylvanians’ lives, such as greater access to opioid treatment and better health care access for veterans and children.”
Pennsylvania legalized medical marijuana in 2016. Possession or sale of the drug for other purposes remains a crime, although Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and several other Pennsylvania cities have decriminalized the possession of small amounts of marijuana.
DePasquale says nearly 21,000 adults were charged last year with low-level marijuana offenses.
(© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)